SWOLLEN lymph nodes or wax and kernel (or cannon) as they are commonly called in Jamaica are caused by infection and affects both adults and children. Lymph nodes are responsible for protecting the body against infections and become enlarged when reacting to infections in the region where they are located. Lymph nodes are usually located in the neck area, under the jaw, in the back of the neck and sometimes behind the ear.
Paediatrician Dr Eve Palomino-Lue said a swollen lymph node in the groin area could also suggest an infection in the leg.
"You could have them anywhere, you could have one in the neck which comes up as a result of a throat infection; you could have one behind your head which comes up as an infection in the scalp," she said.
She added: "You can have it in your arm, under your arm, in your joint creases; anywhere, because it usually means that there is an infected skin lesion somewhere in the area of the node."
A swollen lymph node can be painful for children and is oftentimes accompanied by a fever. According to The US-based Mayo Clinic, the most common cause of swollen lymph nodes is an infection, particularly a viral infection, such as the common cold. Other types of infection that can cause swollen lymph nodes include strep throat, measles, ear infection, infected tooth and skin infections like cellulitis.
Because of this, Dr Palomino-Lue said wax and kernel is something parents should not take lightly.
"If their child has a swollen, painful lymph node then they should take action," said the paediatrician.
Antibiotics and antiseptics can be used to treat the problem. However, if the lymph node becomes very swollen, then a doctor would have to drain the infected area which contains puss. In most cases, the swelling usually goes away on its own as the infection clears.