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General Medical Questions
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Question : My son was diagnosed with strep throat last night and he still has a large egg size lymph node on the left side of his neck. Is that a normal symptom? How long should it take to go away?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Henry H. Bernstein, D.O., is a senior lecturer in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is chief of General Academic Pediatrics at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth and professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School. He is the former associate chief of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital Boston.

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February 01, 2011
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A:

It is good that you are watching your son's recovery carefully. Right now, this sounds like a normal pattern for someone with a strep throat.

A strep throat infection causes fever, painful sore throat, stomach pain, headache, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Sometimes there can also be a sandpapery rash all over.

Lymph nodes can take days to a few weeks to get smaller in size. Lymph nodes have blood cells ("lymphocytes") that make antibodies to help fight off infections. When someone gets sick, the lymph nodes in that area of the body can get very swollen with the extra lymphocytes.

There are lymph nodes all over the body. The glands closest to the infection are usually the ones that get swollen. So, it makes sense that your son has swollen lymph nodes in his neck during a strep throat.

Strep throat can be serious if a child does not take all of the antibiotics prescribed by your child’s doctor. For example, it can cause a heart problem called rheumatic fever.

If your son's lymph node is not decreasing in size over the next 3 weeks or persists for more than one month, contact his doctor.

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