Cervical adenitis is an infection of a lymph node in the neck. Lymph nodes are part of the immune system, which helps fight infections. Sometimes nodes in the neck become infected and these infections are called cervical adenitis. Infected lymph nodes become painful, enlarged, red and warm. Your child will complain of neck pain and be unwilling to fully move the neck in all directions.
Bacteria or viruses present in the nose, tonsils, or adenoids can spread to the lymph nodes and cause an infection. Also, cavities in the teeth can become infected and the bacteria may then spread to the lymph nodes. The infected lymph node then becomes enlarged, warm, and tender.
Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child's symptoms and do a physical exam. If the node is extremely swollen, or if the child has severe pain, sometimes an X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan of the neck will be done. This will show any infection in the lymph nodes of the neck.
Most lymph node infections are treated with antibiotics that are taken by mouth. More severe infections may need to be treated with IV antibiotics in the hospital.
Your child needs to take the antibiotic as prescribed and not stop taking the medicine even if the symptoms are going away.
Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen if he or she develops a fever of 102°F (39°C) or higher or has pain from the neck swelling.
Make sure your child is drinking plenty of fluids.
Your child's lymph node may have been outlined with a pen during your visit. If so, watch to see that the node is not enlarging outside of the markings. Occasionally, the lymph node will need to be drained surgically.
All children with lymph node infections should see their doctor within 2 to 3 days of beginning treatment to make sure the lymph node is getting better.
Call IMMEDIATELY if:
Call within 24 hours if: