Swelling Behind Your Infants Ear? Why You Should Worry!
Created by Ambili S Kartha Updated on Sep 28, 2018
Have you noticed a lump behind the ear of your newborn or toddler? Are you worried about what it might be? Well, most probably it is a swollen lymph node. Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system and plays a significant part in the body's immune system. It comprises a network of lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells. Anyway, finding a swollen lymph node on your infant can be upsetting. However, it is important to remember that this is often a temporary condition. Before moving on to the causes and remedies, let's see what lymph nodes are.
What Are Lymph Nodes?
Lymph nodes are part of the body's immune system. The lymph nodes are bean-shaped and have B and T lymphocytes, and other white blood cells. Lymph nodes are found throughout the body either as a group or a single gland.
Why the Lymph Node Gets Swollen?
As mentioned above lymph nodes are found throughout the body. Each set of lymph nodes will be in charge of a particular area of the body, depending on the location.
- The Lymph nodes on the sides of the neck will look after the nose and throat
- The lymph nodes behind the ears and on the back of the neck are responsible for the scalp skin
- The lymph nodes in the armpits look after the arms and chest
- The lymph nodes in the groin look after the legs
If an infection occurs in one of these areas, the related lymph nodes will swell up. For example, if a person catches a cold virus (which usually results in an infection in nose and throat), the lymph nodes of the neck will swell. Like if one under the underarm swells it indicates some issue with the breast, and so on.
So Enlarged Lymph Node in the Children Means An Infection?
Not always. The lymph node tends to swell up whenever the body thinks there's an infection. Even if there's no real infection, sometimes the lymph nodes swell up if some harmless irritation occurs in the area under its responsibility. This is because the body is not sure if it is an infection or not and therefore activates those lymph nodes - just in case. Which means you could feel the enlarged lymph node even if there is no infection.
What Do The Swollen Lymph Nodes Behind The Ear In Babies Indicate?
Enlarged lymph nodes behind the ear are usually due to an infection in the scalp like dandruff. The swollen lymph node in the back of the ear of the newborn can be due to cradle cap. Also, Cuts, burns, skin infections, rashes and insect bites in the premise of the lymph node will result in the swollen lymph node behind the ear.
When Should You Worry About The Swollen Lymph Nodes?
You should provide medical attention for your child without any delay,
- Once the child experience pain while touching the lymph node
- If the skin over the lymph node is hot / warm or has a reddish tinge
- If pus oozes out from the skin around the lymph node
- If the swollen lymph node is accompanied by a fever, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
- If there are lots of big lymph nodes, in the place of just one
How Long Will It Take For The Swollen Lymph To Shrink Back To Its Normal Size?
Even though the lymph nodes swell up quickly, it will take weeks to months & sometimes even longer for shrinking or go away. The duration depends on the cause and the intensity of the infection and also the size of the enlarged node. The small one disappear relatively faster
What Is Lymphadenitis?
Lymphadenitis is a condition in which the lymph nods itself gets infected. Lymphadenitis is treated with antibiotics. Children who have lymphadenitis contract high fever. This condition may also require warm compresses to localize the infection, usually followed by surgical drainage. The drained thing from the wound will be cultured to determine the exact cause of the infection.
How To Deal With The Swollen Lymph Nodes Behind The Child's Ear?
Never try to squeeze the swollen lymph nodes. This may aggravate them more and prevent them from shrinking to their normal size. Remember, sometimes it may take up to one month or more for the swelling to disappear completely.
What Are The Treatment And Remedies For Swollen Lymph Nodes Behind The Ear In Children?
Lymph node swelling usually disappears after the illness that caused it is gone. Therefore, the treatment for swollen glands relies on the cause. If there's a specific bacterial infection, antibiotics will clear it, allowing the glands gradually to return to their normal size. Swelling due to viral infections, such as the common cold, will disappear on its own. The pain or fever associated with swollen lymph node can be eased by acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
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