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3 Diseases That Cause Swollen Necks
|Signs and Symptoms||Tender, swollen lymph nodes in neck. Fever 102 to 106—worse in evenings. Sore throat, occasionally mild. Red, swollen, sometimes pus-covered tonsils. Abdominal pain, nausea.||Swelling of the parotid glands, which are next to the ears. Sometimes only one side is involved. Fever up to 103.||Starts with cold symptoms and sore throat. In about 3 days a gray membrane from dead tissue covers the tonsils and entire back of throat. After the gray membrane come the swollen throat and lymph nodes, called a “bull’s neck.” (See photo, page 1.) Fever is usually low-grade.|
|Incubation*||Few hours to 3 days.||12–21 days.||1–10 days.|
|Treatment||Antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, cephalexin, erythromycin, or azithromycin. Take for 10 days. Gargling with warm salty water. Acetaminophen for fever and pain.||Rest, fluids (oral). Antibiotics don’t help. Acetaminophen for pain.||Antitoxin if available. Also erythromycin or penicillin for 14 days for those infected or exposed. See more here.|
|Duration of Illness||3–7 days. Usually gets better after 48 hours of antibiotics.||1–2 weeks.||About a week to well over a month.|
|Most Common Complications||Ear infection, rheumatic fever, kidney disease.||Encephalitis, deafness. If mumps occurs after puberty, there can be painful swelling of one or both testes, ovaries, or breasts. Fetal loss is high in first trimester of pregnancy.||Paralysis of throat muscles, permanent heart damage, permanent nerve damage, difficulty breathing. Mortality with full treatment is 5–10 percent (up to 20 percent if under 5 or over 40 years old). With no treatment 50 percent.|
|How Long Contagious||Up to 3 days before symptoms to a few days after they begin. Or up to 24 hours after starting antibiotics. (Airborne.)||6 days before until 9 days after onset of symptoms. (Airborne.)||2–6 weeks after onset or up to 48 hours after antibiotics are begun. (Airborne.)|
*Incubation: How long it takes for symptoms to start after you’re exposed to the virus.