The symptoms of seasonal allergies -- excessive mucus production, runny nose and congestion -- are caused by allergens, such as pollens or molds 1. Seasonal allergies do not directly cause swollen lymph nodes. However, seasonal allergies may cause sinus infections or ear infections, and these infections are a frequent cause of swollen lymph nodes in the neck 1. Swollen lymph nodes can be due to a number of other conditions as well. If your swollen lymph nodes persist or concern you, see your doctor.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are small lumps of tissue found in many parts of the body. They contain cells that help fight infections. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck are most commonly caused by infections in the head or neck area. Seasonal allergies do not cause lymph nodes to become swollen. However, many people with seasonal allergies develop ear or sinus infections, which can in turn produce swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Throat infections and the common cold are also frequent causes of swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Less commonly, swollen nodes occur with other types of infections, such as mononucleosis or tuberculosis, other medical conditions and even some medications. Sometimes swollen lymph nodes have no cause that can be identified.
- Lymph nodes are small lumps of tissue found in many parts of the body.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck are most commonly caused by infections in the head or neck area.
When To See Your Doctor
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You should seek medical attention if you have lymph nodes that are larger than the size of a kidney bean, painful or very hard 1. See your doctor if you have a lymph node that has any drainage or if it remains swollen for more than about 2 weeks. Swollen lymph nodes due to an infection should begin to get smaller as the infection improves. You should also see your doctor if you have swollen lymph nodes in another part of your body besides your neck, such as your armpits or groin.
- You should seek medical attention if you have lymph nodes that are larger than the size of a kidney bean, painful or very hard 1.
- See your doctor if you have a lymph node that has any drainage or if it remains swollen for more than about 2 weeks.
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- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: The Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: An Updated Practice Parameter
- American Family Physician: Diagnosing Rhinitis: Allergic vs. Nonallergic
- American Family Physician: Lymphadenopathy: Differential Diagnosis and Evaluation
- Peripheral Lymphadenopathy: Approach and Diagnostic Tools
- Bazemore A, Smucker D. American Family Physician. Lymphadenopathy and Malignancy. 2002;66(11):2103-2111.
- Gaddey, H., and A. Riegel. Unexplained Lymphadenopathy: Evaluation and Differential Diagnosis. American Family Physician. 2016. 94(11):896-903.
- Parmar HB. B. "Mnemonics In Internal Medicine & Pediatrics." Jain Publishers; 2011.
Shannon Campbell is a scientist and a small business owner. Based in Boulder, Colo., she is passionate about health and medical technologies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human biology and biochemistry from the University of Guelph, and a PhD in human physiology from the University of Melbourne.