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What causes headache and swollen lymph nodes? 19 possible conditions

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.



Lymphangitis is an inflammation of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. It is a network of organs, cells, ducts, and glands.

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Infectious Mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis, or "mono," is a group of symptoms caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. One potential symptom is a pink rash that looks like the measles.

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Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils (the lymph tissue in your throat) become infected. Symptoms include sore throat, fever, and swollen tonsils. Fortunately, it's normally easily diagnosed and treated.

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Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat. It's especially common in children. Look out for sudden fever, a red throat with white patches, headache, and chills.

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Pharyngitis is inflammation of the pharynx, which is in the back of the throat. It's most often referred to simply as "sore throat" and is very common.

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Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. Excessive sweating at night, fatigue, weight loss, bone pain, and easy bleeding or bruising are signs of this disease.

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There are many symptoms of the autoimmune disease HIV/AIDS, including persistent skin rashes, night sweats, and mouth sores.

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Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. It is caused by a type of bacteria known as Treponema pallidum. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2006, more than 36,000 cases of syphilis wer...

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Acute HIV Infection

Acute HIV infection is the primary stage of infection by the human immunodeficiency virus. There are several telltale symptoms, one of which is a rash.

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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease and the most common type of lupus. One of its common symptoms is a rash on the cheeks and nose called a "butterfly rash."

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Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-voster virus, which also causes chickenpox. Following pain and burning,fluid-filled blisters that break easily are common symptoms.

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Learn about sarcoidosis and its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and potential complications.

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Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by parasites found in cat feces and undercooked meat, symptoms of which include swollen lymph nodes and fever.

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German Measles (Rubella)

German measles, also known as rubella, is a rare viral condition. One of its symptoms is a pink rash that begins on the face and spreads downward.

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West Nile Virus Infection (West Nile Fever)

Spread by mosquitos, West Nile virus symptoms can vary in severity. Diarrhea and abdominal pain usually appears within two weeks of infection.

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Weils Disease

Weil's disease is a severe form of the bacterial infection leptospirosis, which can lead to organ failure and bleeding. Symptoms include nausea, fever, headache, and jaundice.

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Brucellosis is a rare disease usually spread through ingesting infected raw meat and unpasteurized milk. Back pain, lethargy, chills, and fever may occur and could lead to complications.

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Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is a disease that affects much of the tropical region and is caused by one of four dengue viruses. A skin rash between two and five days after the initial fever is a common symptom.

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Secondary Syphilis

Secondary syphilis is the second stage of this highly contagious sexually transmitted infection. Learn about the symptoms and treatments for secondary syphilis.

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.