Skip to content

Children's Health

Font Size

Topic Overview

    Most swollen glands or lumps under the skin are not cause for concern. The glands (lymph nodes) on either side of the neck, under the jaw, or behind the ears commonly swell when you have a cold or sore throat.

    More serious infections may cause the glands to enlarge and become very firm and tender. Glands can also swell camera.gif and become tender after an injury, such as a cut or bite, or when a tumor or infection occurs in the mouth, head, or neck.

    Swollen glands camera.gif and other lumps under the skin can be caused by many different things, including illness, infection, or another cause.

    Swollen glands commonly develop when the body fights infections from colds, insect bites, or small cuts. More serious infections may cause the glands to enlarge and become firm, hard, or tender. Examples of such infections include:

    Types of noncancerous (benign) growths, which are usually harmless, include:

    • A lipoma, a smooth, rubbery, dome-shaped lump that is easily movable under the skin.
    • A cyst, a sac of fluid and debris that sometimes hurts.
      • Cystic lesions from acne are large pimples that occur deep under the skin.
      • Branchial cleft cysts are found in the neck and do not usually cause problems unless they become infected. These cysts are most common in teenagers.
      • An epidermal cyst (also called a sebaceous cyst) often appears on the scalp, ears, face, or back.
      • A ganglion is a soft, rubbery lump (a type of cyst) on the front or back of the wrist.
    • Tonsillitis, which may also cause swelling in the neck.
    • A salivary gland problem, such as inflammation, a salivary stone, an infection, or a tumor.
    • An inflammation of fatty tissue under the skin (erythema nodosum) or overgrown scar tissue (keloid).
      1|2

      Today on WebMD

      child with red rash on cheeks
      What’s that rash?
      plate of fruit and veggies
      How healthy is your child’s diet?
       
      smiling baby
      Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
      Middle school band practice
      Understanding your child’s changing body.
       

      worried kid
      fitArticle
      boy on father's shoulder
      Article
       
      Child with red rash on cheeks
      Slideshow
      girl thinking
      Article
       

      Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

      Loading ...

      Sending your email...

      This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

      Thanks!

      Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

      babyapp
      New
      Child with adhd
      Slideshow
       
      rl with friends
      fitSlideshow
      Syringes and graph illustration
      Tool