Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Could my allergies be causing my swollen glands?"
I have some allergies every fall that I think is just from mold and stuff in the air. But this year, I'm starting to notice that my glands in my neck are swollen too. Is this from my allergies? Is it anything to worry about?
The term swollen glands is used often to describe enlarged lymph nodes. Enlarged lymph nodes are something that we often see when someone has an infection. The reason they get bigger is because of activation of the immune system. When there is an infection in the area, the immune cells in the area lymph node called lymphocytes begin to divide increasing the size of the node. Infection is by far the most common of this finding. Other causes of lymphocyte division (besides infection) can also cause enlarged lymph nodes. More rare causes include certain blood cancers including lymphoma and leukemia. Allergies are typically not a cause of enlarged lymph nodes. While an allergic reaction is an activation of the immune system, it typically does not cause division of the lymphocytes which can causes those nodes to enlarge. Allergic reactions typically cause skin itching and hives which can cause swelling under the skin. It is possible that this is what you are experiencing. I suggest that you schedule an appointment to see your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of your allergic symptoms and examine your neck closely to determine what the swelling you are having is from. Good luck.
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