What is going on with the lymph nodes in my neck?
After having a severe cold and sneezing and achiness, I got a little better, only to fall sick immediately afterwards and have the body aches develop into headaches, swollen lymph nodes in my neck and intense fatigue. The clinic tested me for mono and strep, which were negative, and they were puzzled as to what might be wrong. Any thoughts?
I am sorry to hear that you have been sick recently, and that shortly after you were feeling better, you became sick again. I would recommend getting checked out by an ENT (ear nose throat) physician who will be able to do a thorough neck exam. Lymph nodes, as I'm sure you are already aware, are part of your immune system. They have lymphocytes within them which are some of the immune cells that are part of a secondary response (kind of like a second line of defense) against infecting agents. In the head and neck the lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system that drain specific regions of the head or neck. Meaning that certain lymph nodes drain particular areas, such that an infection in the skin of your right ear (for example) should cause swelling (which is really just activating the immune cells within) of the lymph nodes below that ear. Another reason (much less common) for lymph node swelling in the head and neck is abnormal cancer cells growing within them. These lymph nodes do not typically get smaller over time (rather they continue to get bigger and bigger), so if you have a large lymph node that stays large over a long period of time (more than a couple months) you should have it checked out. From the sounds of it the lymph node swelling in your neck is likely secondary to an activated immune system from the infections that you have had. Again, I would recommend getting checked out by an ENT (ear nose throat) physician who will be able to do a thorough neck exam.