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Painful lumps or swollen glands with a fever

A painful lump under the skin usually is caused by a swollen gland (lymph node). Other possible causes include infection under the skin or a cyst that has become irritated. A painful or tender lump may be a sign of a more serious problem, such as cancer or an organ pushing out from under the skin.

Glands near the area of an injury often swell after the injury. Having swollen glands and feeling ill are common symptoms of many viral illnesses, such as colds or sore throats, The glands on either side of the neck, under the jaw, or behind the ears may swell, but they often get better with home treatment.

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Understanding Scarlet Fever -- Symptoms

Scarlet fever most often occurs in children. Its symptoms may include: Bright red or scarlet spotty rash, usually beginning on the neck or chest (often excludes face, palms, and soles of the feet) High fever Chills Headache Sore throat (although half of patients will not have this symptom) Painful swallowing Tongue with white coating and red bumps -- referred to as strawberry tongue Swollen glands in neck Vomiting  

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When painful and swollen glands occur with shaking chills or a high fever, it may mean a more serious infection is present. Uncontrollable shaking chills (rigors) that occur with a high fever can make the teeth chatter or the bed shake. They are usually caused by the release of bacteria into the bloodstream and a severe infection.

Treatment for a painful, swollen lump with a fever will depend on the cause of the lump. Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics.

Author Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
Last Updated May 6, 2009

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 06, 2009
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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