What are the glands in the back of the head?

Answer

The occipital lymph nodes are glands located in the back of the head outside of the occipital bone of the skull. These lymph nodes play an active role in the immune system, and when germs or bacteria become trapped inside them, the germs are killed by lymphocytes. During an infection, they can become swollen because of the increased number of lymphocytes needed to fight the germs and bacteria. When lymph nodes swell, they can usually be detected with the fingers, and may be the size of a pea. Swelling of the occipital lymph nodes typically happens when there is a bacterial, viral or fungal infection of the scalp, or with a ringworm infection, dandruff or lice.

Consult your doctor if you have an enlarged occipital lymph node that remains swollen for two weeks or more, or if the node is solid, hard and immovable.
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