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What causes a painful lump in the armpit?

My 4 yr old has a golf ball size lump under his armpit. very painful. do you think it needs antibiotics he cant lift his arm its really hard and i am a little scared i have 4 kids and i never saw anything like it before his daddy has swelled glands all the time though maybe its inherited
You definitely need to take your child to see his pediatrician right away! If you can't get in to see his pediatrician right away, then you should go to an emergency room for an immediate evaluation. I am concerned that this lump in the armpit represents an abscess or other infection. These can sometimes start off as "swollen glands" like you mention, but a golf-ball sized lump in a 4 yr old is very big! Also the pain is concerning. In the emergency room or your pediatrician's office, your doctor can evaluate the lump. If there is a sign of an infection or an abscess, it may be that the lump needs to be opened up so that the pus can be drained out. Also, antibiotics will most likely be necessary to get the infection under control. There are other less common causes of swollen glands in the armpit that are also serious. For example, this can be caused by lymphoma, a type of cancer. However, given the pain and suddenness of this problem, I think infection is more likely. Regardless, your doctor will be able to evaluate things and make recommendations about what work up and treatments are needed!
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.

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