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Area around occipital bone is painful. Scalp is slightly red and swollen. Anything serious?

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Practicing since : 2006
Answered : 2016 Questions
Hi doc, yesterday in the afternoon I realised that the area around my occipital bone is quite painful when i press onto it. I then asked my friend to help check it out and he said the scalp was slightly red and that its slightly swollen/sore compared to my left. May I know what can be the likely cause of it? I am rather worried that its of some serious issue.. Thanks!
Posted Tue, 29 Oct 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 40 minutes later
Brief Answer:
seems like you are developing a furuncle

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing to us.
From the description it seems, you are probably developing a furuncle or a boil in that area.
A boil is a bacterial infection of hair follicle. As scalp is reach in hair follicles and oil glands and prone to sweat occlusion, pathogenic bacteria may thrive over there easily.

Initally the area may be red, sore, tender. In few days a small pus filled lesion may develop.

Right now just do warm water compresses over the area and apply antibacterial cream like mupirocin.
You may also use any antibacterial shampoo for few days for faster resolution.

It does not seem to be a serious issue. So please do not be worried.

Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Area around occipital bone is painful. Scalp is slightly red and swollen. Anything serious? 12 minutes later
Thanks for the reassuring answer. Because I was quite worried when I found out the swollen area and i started pressing onto it every now and then which sort of lead me to having slight headache.. is it normal for such cases?

And also, can it be a cause of swollen lymph node?
Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
Due to pressing adjacent area can become sore

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing to us.
Too much manipulation of the lesion can lead to pain in adjacent areas which can present as headache. Even a lesion over scalp can cause slight pain which may be perceived as headache.
If there is any scalp pathology like boils, lice infestation, fungal infection etc, it can cause enlargement of draining lymph nodes like occipital lymph node or lymph node behind ear or in neck. It is normal. Once infection will subside, this will resolve too.
Hope this helped.
Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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