DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Swollen neck gland. Swollen lymph node (upper centre) in the neck of a 5-year-old boy. Swelling of the lymph glands is called a lymphadenopathy. This lymph node is paired with another node on the other side of the neck. The lymph nodes, part of the body's immune system, contain thousands of white blood cells that attack invading micro- organisms. During an infection the nodes become especially active and can swell into painful, tender lumps. Swollen glands in the neck may indicate an infection, in this case a viral infection. Children are more prone to swollen glands than adults because their lymph nodes play a more active role in fighting infection.
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