At this allude in the pandemic, you’re relatively familiar through the laundry list of possible COVID-19 symptoms, including a fever, chills, body aches, a dry cough, shortness the breath, and a loss of taste or smell.

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However, the Centers for an illness Control and gendergeek.org (CDC) notes the symptoms linked with the novel coronavirus can manifest unique in every individual, meaning one person could have a completely different experience compared to another.

One symptom you may not hear a many about: swollen lymph nodes. Lot like dizziness, earlier pain, or one odd skin rash, that doesn’t make the CDC’s main list of common symptoms.

However, puffy lymph nodes, especially in the neck area, space a hallmark sign of any kind of viral or bacterial epidemic in the upper respiratory tract (nose, mouth, throat, etc.), claims Joseph Feuerstein, M.D., director of integrative medication at Stamford Hospital and associate professor that clinical medication at Columbia University. “The lymph nodes space where the immune mechanism of the neck is located, so any type of infection in the head or neck will cause an activation the the lymph nodes together they acquire inflamed,” Dr. Feuerstein says.

But carry out swollen glands immediately signal COVID-19? Here’s what doctors want you come know.

What are the “official” symptom of COVID-19?

These are the most common symptoms the COVID, according to the CDC:

Fever or chillsCoughShortness of breath or an obstacle breathingFatigueMuscle or human body achesHeadacheNew lose of taste or smellSore throatCongestion or runny noseNausea or vomitingDiarrhea

If you’re enduring a symptom that’s not on the CDC’s list, you must still pay close attention to exactly how you’re feeling. Even though situations of the virus are now dropping across the country, thousands of confident coronavirus infections are still report every day.

“Similar to various other viral and also even bacterial illnesses, each person may have some overlapping symptoms and also some various ones,” states Sharon Nachman, M.D., chef of the division of pediatric infectious diseases in ~ Stony Brook Children’s Hospital in new York. “Strep throats room a perfect example: Some kids present with high fever, others through sore throats and mild fever, and others with abdominal muscle pain—yet a throat swab in each situation reports out the exact same pathogen.”

COVID-19 is similar, she notes, as the immune system response to the virus differs between people.

What typically causes swollen lymph nodes? and what do they feel like?

We have hundreds that lymph nodes—small, bean-shaped glands—throughout ours body. They’re a major component of the immune system and also become larger when they’re responding come an infection. Why? They collection fluid, waste, and “bad cells” to essentially filter them out of the body, every the American Cancer culture (ACS).

“The lymph fluid, traveling v lymphatic channels, contain lymphocytes (white blood cells) that aid your body fight off infections and diseases—hence the swollen nodes,” says Nikhil Bhayani, M.D., one infectious an illness physician v Texas health and wellness Resources in Bedford, TX.

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And they’ll be tough to miss. “Swollen lymph nodes can feel favor small, rubbery, pea-sized nodules to large, tender, boggy, cherry-sized nodules to also larger, hard, an extremely tender, plum-sized nodules,” describes Dr. Nachman. “They are everywhere your body, including your neck, groin, and also armpit.” However, usually just one area that nodes swells in ~ a time, every the ACS.

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Are swollen lymph nodes a possible symptom the COVID-19?

Yes, but not always. Puffy glands aren’t an instant sign the COVID-19, but it is a feasible symptom. “It is, after ~ all, your body trying come fight the virus and stop from that going down right into the chest cavity and the lungs,” claims Dr. Feuerstein.

Two small studies, released in The Lancet: infectious Diseases, suggest that swollen lymph nodes are discovered in under 10% of adults who had actually a shown COVID-19 infection. However, Dr. Nachman points out that it deserve to be quite challenging to differentiate between true acutely enlarged neck lymph nodes (i.e. From a current infection prefer COVID-19) from program borderline enlarged nodes connected to previous viral illnesses.

“If you feeling your very own neck at the time of an acute famous illness, friend will keep in mind that several of these nodes feel enlarged; if friend check ago weeks later, castle will regularly still feeling slightly enlarged,” Dr. Nachman says. “As adults, ours neck node enlargement (and presence) is regarded years of viral illnesses and also in some cases, these never ever disappear however are palpable all the time, also when you’re no ill.

What to carry out if you have actually swollen lymph nodes

If you have swollen lymph nodes, particularly in her neck, Dr. Lee would certainly not instantly think of COVID-19 together a cause, unless you understand of a current exposure. Instead, she recommends concentrating on other symptoms, such together fever, headache, chills, or body aches. “If you have actually symptoms except neck swelling, ns recommend isolating yourself and also getting tested, however if the lymph nodes room your just symptom, you re welcome reach the end to your medical care provider because that a full examination,” she says.