How to Drain the Lymph Gland From an Ear Infection

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How to Drain the Lymph Gland From an Ear Infection....5

When an ear infection goes away, the swelling of the lymph gland will go down on its own, but they occasionally have to be treated with oral antibiotics. Learn about the best time to see a doctor for lymph gland problems with help from a pediatrician in this free video on ear problems.

Part of the Video Series: Ear & Sinus Problems
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we are going to be talking about how to drain a lymph gland from an ear infection. Now the lymph glands, we call them lymph nodes in medicine, are really part of the immune system. Their place is where disease fighting white cells get together, get to know each other, swap information, and make chemicals and other cells that help fight off infections. So anytime you get an infection it's not unusual for the lymph glands or lymph nodes around that area to get inflamed or swollen a little bit. Most commonly you can feel those here in your neck, sometimes in the back of the neck, sometimes under ears, or in front of the ears, or behind the ears are real easy places kind of right at the back of the head where they are often sandwiched right between the skin and the skull. And anytime you get an infection any of these lymph nodes can swell. Now normally when the infection goes away the nodes go down on their own, you don't have to do anything about them. But occasionally, especially in the case of a bacterial infection such as some ear infections, the bacteria will actually drain into the lymph node along with the cells that are fighting the infection, and infect the node itself. You will know that because the node will be unusually large, greater than about an half inch in size, and it may be tender. Usually unless you have a strep throat or mono, the nodes that are swollen are not terribly painful, but especially when there are just one or two nodes, they are large and really tender to the touch. That's much more likely an infection. Now often those infected nodes will still get better with an oral antibiotic, occasionally an antibiotic injection maybe necessary in severe cases. But rarely the node will be so inflamed it has to be removed or drained by an ear, nose and throat surgeon. If you have a node that is looking that bad, hopefully you have already shown it to your doctor, and he or she has found you a surgeon who can address it. Especially if it is not getting better. If you feel like you are developing a boil or an abscess, something that looks like a pimple anywhere on your skin or on a lymph node you really need to get that seen immediately. Usually it is a pretty simple surgery, and the advantage is when it is done the doctor can collect a culture, find out what bacteria it is that needs to be treated, and prescribe the right antibiotic and follow up. Talking about draining an infected lymph node after an ear infection, I am Dr. David Hill.


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