Lymph Nodes and Eczema
How do lymph nodes relate to eczema?
First, it’s important to understand what lymph nodes are, and how they function. They are part of the lymph system, which is very important for our immune systems, helping us to defend against disease. The lymph system carries fluid that contains both waste and nutrients between the bloodstream and body tissues.
The lymph nodes themselves are small glands throughout the body that are part of the lymph system and they are shaped like beans. The size of each individual lymph node varies. They can be as big as a grape or as small as the tip of a pin. They can be found in groups at the neck, under our arms, and at the groin.
The lymph nodes act to filter the lymph fluid. They trap any foreign substances like viruses and bacteria. Usually, when you’re in good health, you don’t feel your lymph nodes at all. When they trap any foreign substances, when they become infected, or injured, they can start to become swollen and tender. Depending on which lymph nodes are swelling, it can help to identify the problem. For example, when you have a cold, the lymph nodes around the jaw (neck, behind the ears, below the jaw) are the most common to swell.
Swollen lymph nodes can be common for those with eczema because an atopic dermatitis flare is usually related to a bacterial infection. The lymph nodes, in their attempt to trap the bacteria, swell and grow tender. Your lymph nodes may become swollen before or during the outbreak.
Children with eczema can have lymph nodes swell if they are scratching the eczema and it gets inflamed and/or infected. If your baby or child has red, swollen eczema, it is time to see the doctor. Weeping or oozing eczema are signs of an infection.
If you have swollen lymph nodes for an extended period of time and your eczema does not improve from the regularly prescribed methods, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about the infection. Antibiotics could be helpful along with your usual eczema treatment regime.