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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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2 years old. Had swollen lymph node. Developed cold. Related?

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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 15705 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 26 Dec 2012 in Child Health
Question: Hi doctor. I made a question here the other day and dr. Uma replied to me, but it was like a week ago. My son is 2 years and 4 months old, about 2 weeks ago he had a cold and after that he got a lump on the back of his head. Dr. Uma told me that was an enlarged lymph node, due to the infection he had. I took him to his pediatrician and she told me the same. Dont think that I am crazy, but I am still worried with it. Its still there, and sometimes I have the impression that it is getting bigger. Now he got another cold, he goes to a day care facility and is winter time here in Switzerland, so all the children are sick. Should I be worried with this lump? Normally, when should it disappear? Many thanks in advance.
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 2 hours later
Hi , thanks for using health care magic

Cervical lymph nodes (lymph nodes that occur in the neck region) are common in children because of repeated colds.
The lymph nodes function by mounting an immune response to any illness which is predominant in the area that they drain (for example an infection in the chest may affect the lymph nodes in the axilla)
Other causes of lymph node enlargement would be infection/inflammation of the node itself , autoimmune conditions, tumors.

Since young children your son's age are expected to have 8 to 10 colds per year and the lymph nodes respond to infection, they can potentially seem to be enlarged for long periods of time because of the repeated colds.

Normally if he remains cold free for at least 4 to 6 weeks it should decrease in size or resolve completely.
If he gets another cold while it is resolving then the size would start increasing again.

If he has a prolonged well period (6 weeks) and the node does not appear to be shrinking then you may want to take him for evaluation at your doctor.

I hope this helps , feel free to ask any other questions

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 3 hours later
Hi Dr., thank you very much for your explanation.
But he is fine and doesnt have any other symptom. If the cause of this enlarged lymph node would be something different than the repeated colds, should he have any other symptom? What his pediatrician told me is that he would be different, loosing weight and so on.

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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 7 hours later
HI, yes your pediatrician was right, if it were something serious like a tumor, he would be losing weight, sustained decrease in appetite, may have persistent night sweats and other nodes would also be enlarged.
The fact that it involves the cervical nodes which are responsible for fighting off the common cold would suggest that it is related to that.
If you want, you can measure it yourself, note the value and recheck in 4 weeks (if he has been well) to see if it has changed in size.


Hope this eases your mind, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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