Lymphatic Infection, Swollen Lymph Nodes (Glands)

Lymphatic Infection:  Lymphatic system can be involved in a wide range of infectious conditions, viral, bacterial, mycotic and parasitic. Mostly this involvement is transient, the lymphatic system serving as part of the route utilized by micro- organisms in their spread throughout the body. As such, enlargement of the lymph nodes may often reflect the spread of an infection from a local entry point. In many infections the effect on  the lymphatics may be both consistent and clinically marked.

The lymphadenopathy may be local or generalized and lymphadenopathy is or can be a significant feature of acute HIV infection, primary Herpes simplex, some rickettsial infections, tularaemia, plague, cat-scratch fever due to Bartonella henselae, primary syphilis, lymphogranuloma venereum, chancroid, leptospirosis, brucellosis, relapsing fever, African trypan- osomiasis (e.g. Winterbottom’s Sign), Chagas’ disease, and leishmaniasis.

Charters also lists schistosomiasis (during the Katayama phase), paragonimiasis, onchocerciasis, trichinosis, leprosy, and sporotrichosis as causes of lymphadenopathy. However, the most significant and noteworthy involvement of the lymphatic system is seen in the Glandular Fever Syndrome and in Lymphatic filariasis.

Swollen Lymph Nodes:

Lymph nodes (erroneously called lymph glands) are a part of the lymphatic system, a component of the body’s immune system. Swollen lymph nodes may signal an infection.

There are several groups of lymph nodes, which are small, bean-shaped, soft nodules of tissue. The ones most frequently enlarged or swollen are found in the neck, under the chin, in the armpits, and in the groin. Lymph nodes can swell and become tender. Infection is the most common cause of lymph node swelling. The lymph nodes’ primary purpose is to fight off infections.

Identification: Your lymph nodes are located behind the ears, the armpit, the neck, the groin, under the jaw and chin, and on the back of the head. The main purpose for lymph nodes is to fight infection and foreign substances.

Types: The most common cause of lymph node swelling is infection somewhere in the body. Infections that may cause swelling of the lymph nodes are ear infections, abscess, colds or flu, gingivitis, mononucleosis, mouth sores, sexually transmitted diseases, tonsillitis, skin infections and tuberculosis.

Control and Treatment: Swollen lymph nodes from an infection usually are treated with antibiotics, pain medication, anti-inflammatory medications to control swelling, and cool compresses to reduce swelling. If there is any abscess of the swollen lymph node, surgery may be necessary to drain the infection.