Neck lumps in children can happen for a variety reasons, but most of the time they’re not serious. Some common causes include:
- Swollen Glands: Sometimes, when kids get sick, the glands in their neck can swell up. This is usually because their body is fighting off an infection like a cold or throat infection.
- Birth-related Lumps: Sometimes, babies are born with small lumps in their neck that are harmless. These may cause no issues but some can grow in size or get infected leading to problems in later life.
- Rare Cases: Although it’s rare, sometimes lumps can be caused by more serious things like cancer. But this is not very common.
- The first step is review and examination by a Paediatric ENT doctor.
- Scanning of the neck can be very useful.
- Most often this entails an ultrasound scan of the neck. This is a painless, straightforward, and quick investigation.
- Occasionally, MRI or CT scanning may be required to look a the lumps in further detail.
- If an infectious cause is suspected blood tests are very helpful.
- The management depends on the cause of the lump.
- Enlarged glands in the neck are usually no cause for concern and most require no further management.
- Rarely if there is a cause for concern the glands may require a biopsy or removal.
- Children can be born with neck lumps that can become infected or swollen and occasionally these need to be removed (this includes thyroglossal duct cysts.
Swollen glands in children are quite common and are often not a cause for serious concern. In many cases, swollen glands are a sign that the body is fighting off an infection, such as a cold, flu, or sore throat. These swollen glands are typically located in the neck, under the jaw, or in the armpits.
However, there are some instances where swollen glands may warrant further attention:
- Duration: If the swollen glands persist for an extended period, especially without any signs of improvement, it’s a good idea to have them checked by a healthcare professional.
- Size and Tenderness: If the glands are exceptionally large, very tender, or seem to be getting bigger over time, it’s worth getting them evaluated by a doctor.
- Other Symptoms: If swollen glands are accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as fever, weight loss, night sweats, or unexplained pain, it may indicate a more serious underlying condition and should be assessed by a doctor.
- Multiple Areas of Swelling: Swollen glands in multiple areas of the body or in unusual locations may also be a reason for further investigation.
In most cases, swollen glands in children are a temporary and harmless reaction to an infection or other harmless cause. However, if you have any concerns about your child’s health or if the swollen glands are causing discomfort or persisting, it’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.