I'm sure that most of us had, at some point in their life, swollen lymph nodes (be it because of a flu or some other kind of not-too-serious illness) and there is generally no reason to panic if one finds a swollen lymph node on their body. Now, even if the swelling is often associated with something harmless in certain cases it can be dangerous and needs further checking by doctors. If you google when you should see your doctor, one often finds lists like these.
if your swollen lymph nodes:
- Have appeared for no apparent reason
- Continue to enlarge or have been present for two to four weeks
- Feel hard or rubbery, or don't move when you push on them
- Are accompanied by persistent fever, night sweats or unexplained weight loss
The first and last point seem quite intuitive to me, or at least, I as a non-medic can check that. But the two middle points are somewhat confusing to me.
For example, have been present for two to four weeks, so does this mean, that if it isn't something serious, they should disappear in two to four weeks, and if it is something serious than they wouldn't disappear at all? Or would it take them longer than that to disappear and therefore the doctor couldn't determine what the problem is? The third point is something that seems completely indefinable for a non-medic. I'm mean, what exactly is hard/rubbery (any reference, like f.e. a rock, or more like a eraser). The same goes for the comment don't move when you push on them. What exactly should I expect when I push them? How far should I be able to push them? Does pushing inwards, not to the side, also count? What to do if they don't really hurt?
Of course, all of these questions are simply answered by calling your doctor and going, if something like this arises. But nevertheless it would be nice if someone could maybe clarify a bit what the two middle points in the quote from above exactly mean.