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livelaughlove21's avatar

Should I see a doctor for this?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15713points) January 1st, 2015 from iPhone

I started getting sick on Monday or Tuesday – scratchy throat, general blah feeling. My husband started getting sick the same day. Yesterday I noticed a pea-sized lump on the right side of my neck, toward the back of my head. It’s not tender, no pain at all. I wouldn’t describe it as freely movable or soft/squishy but it’s not really hard/solid. If you push on it, it’ll “pop” from side to side under my finger.

My husband had a fever yesterday, but I’ve still just got a scratchy throat, some chest congestion, and occasional dry cough.

I made a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow because I’m a drama queen and a hypochondriac, but I don’t want to waste perfectly good sick time at work if it’s just a swollen lymph node. If it were a swollen lymph node caused by the sore throat, though, wouldn’t it be closer to the front on my neck? I don’t feel any other lumps on my head/neck.

I’ve never felt a swollen lymph node, so I’m just worried that it’s something else or that it’s been there for awhile and I just noticed it. I don’t want my doctor to brush it off as being related to my cold if it’s not.

What would you do? See a doc or wait it out?

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16 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Treat it like the flu for 5–6 days. Then re-evaluate. Assume for the time being that it’s a horse and not a zebra.

Lymph nodes are everywhere. One or two swollen one are no cause for alarm

Take deep breaths. You’re young, strong and very healthy. Bench press some chicken soup, tea with honey and lemon, aspirin and stupid daytime TV, long naps and call me on Wed.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’d wait it out. After your cold has gone, if the lymph node is still enlarged, then see a doctor. I’d think it’s just a symptom of your cold though.

JLeslie's avatar

I wouldn’t. Not at this point.

If your husband has a fever over 101 with congestion that likely needs an antibiotic if it doesn’t start getting better on it’s own in a couple of days. If there is no congestion and he can barely move out of bed with a high fever I wouldn’t go to the doctor either I’d just treat the fever. Unless the fever lasts more than 5 days or can’t be controlled.

If you have a bad sore throat that lasts more than 3 days and no congestion that needs a throat culture. 3 days or less and congestion—that is a cold and needs nothing except chloraseptic for your throat and then decongestant when it converts to runny and stuffy nose.

If you have a swollen lymph node and are sick I can’t imagine why you think the lymph node is worrisome? Your body is doing what it is meant to do to fight the germs. If you have a swollen lymph node without being sick or if it stays swollen for more than two weeks, then maybe go ahead and go to the doctor for a blood test.

JLeslie's avatar

The doctors office is full of sick people right now. The flu is rampant in the south. If you don’t need to go don’t go to the germ infested place. It doesn’t sound like you have the flu, why risk getting it.

For your cough you can buy any Tussin DM.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Thanks guys. I’ll wait it out.

@JLeslie “If you have a swollen lymph node and are sick I can’t imagine why you think the lymph node is worrisome?”

From my original question:

”...because I’m a drama queen and a hypochondriac…”

“I’ve never felt a swollen lymph node, so I’m just worried that it’s something else or that it’s been there for awhile and I just noticed it.”

JLeslie's avatar

Ok, fair enough, we are all allowed to have our own little bits of irrational fears.

Rationally, it doesn’t make sense to worry about the lymph node at this point.

longgone's avatar

Wait it out, definitely. Lymph nodes are everywhere. I’d see a doctor in about a week, less if it’s worrying you a lot.

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livelaughlove21's avatar

I cancelled my appointment, but tonight I felt another one about an inch below the original and maybe a smaller one on the opposite side. This makes me more sure it’s lymph nodes, but is it normal for multiple lymph nodes to be swollen when I’m not even all that sick? Still a scratchy throat and nagging dry cough with no other symptoms.

My husband suggested that maybe they’ve always been palpable and I just noticed, but I don’t think so. You shouldn’t be able to feel normal lymph nodes toward the back of your neck, right? Surely I would’ve noticed (and freaked out over) these lumps before.

Still nothing to worry about unless they’re still there in a week or should I set up an appointment on Monday?

JLeslie's avatar

Where exactly? It’s very common when sick with a cold like illness to feel lymph nodes where your neck meets your jaw line. So basically under your jaw on either side, closer to the end near your ears, not your chin. It is not unusual for only one side to be swollen when sick.

I definitely would not worry about it while you’re sick.

Is it a perfectly round pea? Does it feel hard? Is it painful when you touch it?

livelaughlove21's avatar

It’s not under my jaw. That’s one of the reasons I thought it was odd. It’s toward the back of my neck on the right side. If you were to put your finger in the space behind your ear and go straight down, that’s where they are, one midway down my neck and the other an inch lower.

I’m not sure if it’s perfectly round. There’s no pain. It doesn’t feel hard as a rock, but it’s not squishy either.

JLeslie's avatar

I still would wait at least two weeks from when you noticed to bother doing anything about it.

Are you feeling better today? Throat better?

livelaughlove21's avatar

Hard to tell. I just woke up. My throat still feels a bit scratchy, but I haven’t had my first cough attack yet. It’ll happen eventually. I took Mucinex D yesterday ($27) and it did exactly nothing.

JLeslie's avatar

I never take combination drugs. For a cough I take one if the “Tussins” DM.

For congestion I take a decongestant antihistamine from behind the pharmacy (but not prescription).

For achy, miserable feeling, and fever I usually take ibuprofen.

If you take a combination pill you can’t adjust to take only one drug if you don’t need the others and you can’t take more of something if you need it. Well, you can, but then you need to buy it also separately and do the math to see how much more you can take.

If you have the bad cough, chest congestion thing going around that takes three weeks usually to get completely rid of the cough.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Update: My cough and sore throat were gone by Tuesday of this week. My husband says my lymph nodes have drastically decreased in size, but I think they feel pretty much the same. Meh, maybe a little smaller, but still palpable. I read that lymph nodes can remain swollen for up to a month after a cold or infection is gone, so I guess I’ll wait a few weeks before seeing anyone about it.

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks for the update. I’m glad you’re feeling better.

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