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"Do fevers typically accompany swollen glands?"


I have had swollen glands under my chin for several days, and this morning I woke up with a fever. Is it normal for these two things to occur at once? It just seems like a bad sign, and not a type of sickness that I'm prepared for.


Swollen glands are actually enlarged lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small collections of cells that are found throughout the body. They are part of the body's immune system, and act as a filter for foreign substances, including infection.

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When an infection is encountered, the body's immune system essentially presents pieces of the infecting organism (bacteria, virus, fungus) to the cells in nearby lymph nodes. Certain cells that recognize the organism will become stimulated and begin to replicate, causing the lymph nodes to enlarge. As these lymph nodes often become enlarged in the setting of infection, it is very common for there to be an accompanying fever. Enlarged lymph nodes under the chin typically point to a nearby infection, usually in the throat (e.g. Strep throat), mouth, or nearby skin. Lymph nodes that are enlarged due to infection are classically tender to touch, and often associated with other symptoms such as fever, fatigue, sore throat, headache, etc. Given your symptoms, it would be advisable to present to your primary care physician so that he/she may do a physical exam and any further testing deemed necessary to make a diagnosis and help guide you to the appropriate treatment.

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