Humans have approximately 500 to 600 lymph nodes distributed throughout the body.
They are grouped in the underarms, groin, neck, chest and abdomen and they play an important role in protecting the body from all kinds of infections. They can become inflamed whether the illness is systemic or localized, caused by the formation of abscesses or cancer, and even when the illness isn’t noticeable or is insignificant. The Mayo Clinic explains that “they function as filters, trapping viruses, bacteria and other causes of illnesses before they can infect other parts of your body.”
You should go to the doctor if the following occurs:
- They become inflamed for no apparent reason.
- They become enlarged or they have been noticeable for two to four weeks.
- They are hard or rubbery to the touch, or they do not move when pressed.
- They are accompanied by a persistent fever, night sweats or unexplained weight loss.
- Swallowing or breathing becomes difficult.
The most common causes of lymph node enlargement are pharyngitis; measles; ear, tooth and skin infections and infected wounds.
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