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If Your Child's Lymph Nodes Are Larger Than a Hazelnut, Consult a Physician

Prof. Murat Elli, MD from the Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Medipol Mega University Hospital stated: “The enlargement of the lymph nodes, which are defense and immune system warriors, can be seen especially in childhood with viral or bacterial infections such as colds, flu, tonsillitis. If your child has lumps larger than hazelnuts in the bean-shaped lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, groin, chest and abdomen, consult a pediatrician without delay. Sometimes the first symptoms can be pain, tenderness, redness or an increase in body temperature.” 

Prof. Murat Elli, MD from Medipol Mega University Hospital Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Department gave information about the causes and symptoms of swelling and growth of lymph nodes in childhood.

Expressing that if the lymph nodes are larger than normal sizes, there may be an infection or other problem in children, Prof. Murat Elli, MD explained the symptoms of lymph node enlargement as follows;

“Normal lymph node nodules are subcutaneous and felt as small, mobile, smooth-surfaced, elliptical lumps. Swelling and lumps appear in the submaxillary region, on the sides or back of the neck, or in the armpits, groin, chest cavity, or abdomen. Pain or tenderness, redness or warmth in the enlarged lymph node area are the most common complaints. Depending on the cause of the enlargement of the lymph node; Respiratory symptoms such as fever, sore throat, congestion and cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, body aches in bones and joints, headache, fatigue, weight loss and rash may also occur.”

Lymph Glands Function Like a Neighborhood Police Centre

Saying that the swelling of the lymph nodes is called 'lymphadenopathy', Elli said "These are bean-shaped glands in the neck, armpits, groin, chest and abdomen, and they act as filters for lymphatic fluid that is the other circulatory system in humans. They are important points of the lymph system that ensures that the antigens (bacteria, viruses, etc.) entering the body are introduced to the defense cells and then eliminated. They function like a neighborhood police centre. Lymph nodes, which function like a neighborhood police centre, fight bacteria and viruses that enter the body. This fluid, called lymphatic fluid, contains white blood cells (lymphocytes) that help the body fight infection.”

What Are the Functions of Our Lymph System?

Explaining the functions of the lymph system, Elli said that it plays a role in the production and training of defense and immune cells, filtering blood and lymph, phagocytizing foreign substances, producing antibodies and ultimately joining the main circulation with lymphatic vessels.

Expressing that lymphadenopathy is changes in the number, size and shape of the lymph nodes for any reason, Elli said: “Lymphadenopathy can occur in the glands in only one region of the body, such as the neck, and can affect the lymph nodes in the body. Cervical lymph nodes in the neck are the most common region of lymphadenopathy.”

Lymph Gland Swells in a Cold

Saying that the lymph glands are not prominent when the babies are born, Elli made an assessment that “However, later on, enlargement of the lymph nodes is detected in almost all children for a while. This is because enlarged glands often occur with viral or bacterial infections such as colds, flu, tonsillitis. Reactive and lymphadenitis growth are also other growth types. Absence of lymph nodes is also a pathological condition, it may be due to a body defense defect.”

Supporter Region of the Immune System 

Stating that the immune system derives an important part of its strength from the lymphatic system, Elli said “The immune system fights against infections and tumor cells. To help fight infection or disease, cells and fluid build up in the lymph nodes, causing the lymph nodes to enlarge. Each body region has a lymph node from which it drains. Enlarged lymph nodes are near the site of infection, so their location is crucial to pinpointing the cause. For instance, a baby with a scalp infection may have enlarged lymph nodes at the back of the neck. Swollen lymph nodes around the jaw can be a sign of an infection in the teeth or mouth. In systemic infections, lymphadenopathy more commonly affects the lymph nodes in the body. Some viral diseases, particularly EBV (Epstein-barr virus) (infectious mononucleosis) or chickenpox, are the most common.”

Most Common Cause of Lymphadenopathy

Listing the most common causes of diffuse lymphadenopathy, Elli continued as follows;

Among the infectious causes, viral infections are the most common cause. EBV, CMV, HIV, all viral rash diseases can cause generalized LAP. LAP is seen in most systemic bacterial infections. Especially bacterial sepsis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, syphilis are examples. Generalized LAP can also be seen due to fungal (histoplasmosis, cryptococcus, coccidiomycosis), parasitic (toxoplasmosis, malaria) causes.

22 October 2021, Friday