Swollen lymph nodes behind the ears

Sep, 06, 2021

Why do I have swollen lymph nodes behind my ears?

Swollen lymph nodes behind the ear can feel like small lumps that may cause discomfort or itching. It can be a result of many possible causes, including a cold, infection, or flu. Most cases of swollen lymph nodes do not present a cause for concern and normally resolve without treatment. Learn more about what causes them below. 

Lymph nodes: why do they swell?

Swollen lymph nodes are often our body’s natural reaction to fight off an illness, infection and sometimes even stress. Their swelling is a sign that your lymphatic system is working to rid your body of germs, cells or foreign material that have caused the illness or infection.

Can I feel swollen lymph node by myself?

Healthy lymph nodes are small, pea-sized glands. You normally are unable to feel them. However, swollen lymph nodes can sometimes become large enough for you to feel a lump. It may feel tender or painful and can cause you to feel some discomfort. 

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Swollen lymph nodes behind ears: causes

Swollen lymph nodes are often a symptom of an infection. However, they can be a good sign that your body is helping to fight the cause of the infection. Once the infection clears, so will your swollen lymph nodes. Below are some common causes:

  • Cold or flu
  • Bacterial infections
  • Viral infections
  • Wisdom tooth infection

Treatment for lymph nodes behind the ear

In most cases, swollen lymph nodes will gradually become smaller and reduce back to their normal size without any treatment. However, in some cases, your GP may want to monitor the lymph nodes. You may be prescribed antibiotics if they have been caused by an infection.  If swelling has not reduced within a few days, it is a good idea to get in touch with your GP for a professional examination. 

Lymph nodes behind the ear in babies

Sometimes, children and babies may also experience swollen lymph nodes behind the ear. As with adults, it is also often caused by an infection. In most cases with children, swollen lymph nodes aren’t a serious problem. They usually return to their original size with no treatment or when the illness or infection has passed. If you have any concerns about your baby's lymph nodes, get in touch with your GP for advice. 


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