Our body is like a machine which constitute different organ that fulfill various functions essential for smooth working. But apart from this, protection is also important so that these organs can work unhindered and this is where our body immunity comes to aid. The white blood cells in our body are considered the defenders of our immunity system and protect us from external infections by producing antibodies. Lymph nodes are one of the most essential parts of this immune system. These are very small organs which produce components that are used by our immune system to fight disease attack. Lymphadenitis is a disorder of lymph nodes due to which the capacity of these organs to produce immunity enhancing substance is affected.
When lymph nodes become enlarged due to swelling, the condition is called Lymphadenitis. This type of infection is found more in children. Most often the infection is viral and benign in nature. Lymphadenitis can infect only one lymph node or even the cluster of lymph nodes that form a localized group. When the infection is in group it is termed as regional adenopathy and it can be unilateral or even bilateral. The infection of lymphadenitis can aggravate its course in three modes: acute, subacute or chronic. The children who are infected lymphadenitis display lymph nodes in various forms like palpable cervical, inguinal nodes and axillary nodes. Around 5% children have been known to posses palpable suboccipital or postauricular nodes. Other types of lymph nodes that are uncommon are palpable supraclavicular, popliteal, epitrochlear, mediastinal and regular abdominal nodes. These are detected with the help of radiography.
There are special bacterial, viral or fungal infections that particularly affect the components of our immune system and cause harm to them. Lymphadenitis too is caused by such bacteria, viruses or fungus. Once the lymph nodes get infected, they get inflamed and can cause complete illness affecting whole of your body like mononucleosis or tuberculosis. Some studies have also revealed that skin infections, especially those caused by bacteria like staph or strep can too further lead to Lymphadenitis condition.
The symptoms of lymphadenitis are easily visible, especially on the skin. A person having lymphadenitis can feel the skin go tender with red coloring on the surface. These symptoms are exhibited exactly at a place where the lymph nodes are infected with lymphadenitis. On pressing these colored skin area, you can feel the inflamed lymph nodes and the feeling can be hard or rubbery depending upon the extent of inflammation. Excess of spread of lymphadenitis can also cause fever in children. If untreated for long time, this infection can further result in more grave and fatal infections like cellulitis or sepsis. Sometimes the infection of bacteria is so strong that within hours of occurrence of lymphadenitis, it progresses into this life threatening infection.
The treatment depends on the type of infection. If the infection caused is due to fungus then anti-fungal medications are prescribed and if the infection is due to bacteria, intravenous antibiotics along with oral pills are used for treatment. In the meantime so as to reduce the inflammation cold compressions are advised. Proper treatment before the infection advances into other infection can cure the patient fully within few weeks or months depending upon the intensity of the infection.
When Lymphadenitis goes out of hand, it can result in various complications like abscess formation, cellulitis, sepsis which is a blood stream infection and fistulas which commonly is seen along with tuberculosis.