Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do you have an infection if the glands in your neck are swollen?"
The glands on either side of my neck are swollen. Does this mean I have an infection? My throat is a little scratchy but I don't really feel sick at all...
This is a question that has multiple answers, but really requires a personal conversation with a physician. Glands on your neck usually indicates the areas of your body that secrete fluid, such as your salivary glands, which are close to your mandible, or jaw bone. Lymph nodes are more commonly affected with infections, as that is where all of the infection fighting cells go to organize the body's defense against invading bacteria and viruses. If you have had some symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection, such as fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, etc, and have just now noted that there are some small nodes that are swollen on your neck, then it is quite possible that they will go away by themselves within a short period of time. If, however, the swollen areas have been there for some time, are growing, are painful, are affecting your ability to swallow or move other parts of your head or neck, then they could be something much more serious. An ENT, or otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon, would be able to assess these swellings appropriately and recommend the best next step to take. Please speak with your doctor and determine what the next step should be.
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