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"What causes coughing and swollen lymph nodes in children?"


My 8 year old son has had swollen lymph nodes for months, and doctors haven't really been able to help in this regard. He also has a dry cough that doesn't seem to go away, and sometimes runs a temperature for no reason. What causes all of these symptoms together?


The most likely cause of the swollen lymph nodes is simply that they are still not totally uninflamed from a previous episode of a cold or similar infection. Children your son's age often have persistently swollen lymph nodes after a cold that can persist for weeks to months. However, if the lymph nodes are growing in size or are markedly enlarged (a pediatrician could make this decision for you with a physical examination), it is always worth performing some basic blood tests to make sure there is not a blood cancer, such as leukemia, which would be the rare but very serious possibility.

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Also rarely, if there are night sweats or weight loss, in addition to cancer it might be necessary to rule out a more serious infection. The most common cause of a dry cough in a child your son's age would be allergies or asthma. Again, these conditions can be easily diagnosed by a physical examination in your pediatrician's office and they can be easily treated. Rare causes of chronic cough can include a serious infection or cancer. In summary the things that best explain all of the symptoms taken together would be a serious problem, such as an infection or a cancer. However, it is more likely that all of the symptoms are not related to each other. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth getting it all checked out by your pediatrician.

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