Q. I notice a lump in my neck after a throat infection. Could this be from the virus?

Answered by
Dr. Subhadeep Karanjai
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 07, 2018 and last reviewed on: Oct 09, 2018

Hello doctor,

On Sunday evening, I went to bed with a stuffy nose and in the morning, I woke up with body aches and chills and a sore throat. I look at my throat in the mirror and notice pus starting on my tonsils. The next day, my tonsils are covered in pus, painful to swallow. Body aches and chills continue. So, I went to the doctor and it was negative for strep. Two days later, my symptoms are not getting better. So, I go back and they tested me for mono which was negative. They sent off my culture and it was negative for bacteria. Today, my throat is getting better. Later that day, I noticed a lump on the side of my neck. It is painless and moves slightly when I press on it. It is about the size of my pointer fingertip. Could this be from the virus?



Welcome to

I shall try to help you out on this one.

The symptoms and signs which you have written are consistent with the diagnosis of acute tonsillitis. However, since tests for bacteria were negative, there is most probably a viral cause for the infection. Mono test is a test to detect infectious mononucleosis, another viral infection. Since mono test is negative, that may be ruled out.

The lump in the neck you are talking about seems to be an enlarged lymph node. Tonsil infections are in many cases accompanied by enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. The lymph nodes most often getting enlarged in tonsillitis as they are situated just below the ear. Those may be movable and slightly tender to touch. If the neck lump persists or gets enlarged day by day or loses its mobility, an FNAC may be done to know the underlying cause. In most cases of uncomplicated tonsillitis, however, the swelling gradually reduces, and nothing further needs to be done.

So, the possible causes are:

  1. Acute viral tonsillopharyngitis.
  2. Acute bacterial tonsillopharyngitis.
  3. Infectious mononucleosis.

But, the most likely cause is acute viral tonsillitis, that too resolving (as the throat is getting better).

Be sure to take plenty of fluids. Paracetamol may help to take care of pain and/or fever. For the time being, sharing personal items with others may be avoided.

For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online -->

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