Swollen Lymph Nodes

When a child or an adult is sick with chicken pox or any illness, additional symptoms are always a cause for concern.

WebMD states that enlarged lymph nodes are a normal response to illness, infection, and even some medications, but usually there is no reason to become concerned. The body also may respond to fighting the virus, varicella zoster, with swollen lymph nodes in an attempt to filter out the chicken pox virus and other debris that is produced when a person is sick. Worsening symptoms can also be a sign of a new infection like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) or other type of staph or bacterial infection.

If the nodes don't return to their normal size after the virus has run its course, then a medical professional should examine the nodes and determine if there are other health issues involved.

Infections Can Cause Enlargement And Swelling Of Lymph Nodes

With chicken pox, the lymph nodes that will begin to swell are the ones along the neck, which are known as the cervical lymph nodes. The body has hundreds of nodes that constantly circulate lymph through the body.

Lymph is liquid that is clear or yellowish and contains lymphocytes, red blood cells, and proteins. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system so it kicks into gear when there is a bacterial infection or a viral infection. Generally, when an infection runs its course, the lymph node will return to normal. When this doesn't happen, it may be a symptom of a more serious health problem.

Overwhelmed Lymph Nodes

When the lymph node becomes overwhelmed with debris it gets bigger, which can cause the following symptoms:

These symptoms can often be relieved with over the counter medications recommended by a doctor. When there is an infection in the body, the lymph nodes closest to the infection will produce cells that fight the infection and the node will filter out viruses, bacteria, and other debris in the body.

The movement of the body keeps lymph circulating through the body.

Lymph Is Filtered Through The Lymph Nodes

The body has lymph, a fairly clear liquid that provides nutrients and water to the cells in the body. As it leaves the cell it takes with it any waste that was produced and filters it through the hundreds of nodes throughout the body. During its journey it will pick up the following:

Before the lymph makes its way back to the blood stream it will filter the bad and leave it in the lymph gland. Lymphocytes in the nodes produce antibodies that bind and destroy pathogens. Macrophages in the lymph nodes consume disease-producing agents.

"Medline Plus, a service for the A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists many causes of enlarge lymph nodes, which also includes medications." - Swollen lymph nodes - Medline Plus

Sometimes the enlarged nodes are a sign of cancer or other serious illness in the body that can't be fought off without treatment.

Signs That A Lymph Node Needs To Be Checked By A Healthcare Professional

Most swollen lymph nodes will return to normal size within a week or two and not cause any further trouble. Even lymph nodes that are swollen due to a known illness like chicken pox may not return to normal size after the infection has passed if there is an underlying health issue like HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted disease, shingles, and others.

A healthcare professional needs to check the nodes when they are the following kind of enlarged lymph node.

If a physician is unsure of the cause of the enlarged nodes, a biopsy may need to be done.


It is not unusual for the lymph nodes on the neck to be swollen when someone has chicken pox, but if they don't return to normal size by the time the varicella-zoster runs its course, it will be necessary to consult a doctor.

Chicken Pox In Adults

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