What Is an Axillary Infection?

Meshell Powell

An axillary infection is an infection of a lymph node under the arm. The infection may be caused by either a virus or bacteria and usually causes the lymph node to become enlarged. Redness, swelling, and fever are common symptoms of an axillary infection and are usually treated with prescription medications such as antibiotics or steroid drugs. Any questions or concerns about an axillary infection or the best methods of treatment for an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

An axillary infection may be common for those who shave their underarms frequently.
An axillary infection may be common for those who shave their underarms frequently.

An infection involving the skin under the arm may sometimes travel to the lymph nodes and cause an axillary infection to develop. This is particularly common among those who frequently shave the underarms. Any cuts or abrasions on this area of the body should be treated promptly in order to avoid the development of an infection.

Swollen glands, sore throat, and fatigue are common symptoms of glandular fever, which can cause an axillary infection.
Swollen glands, sore throat, and fatigue are common symptoms of glandular fever, which can cause an axillary infection.

Glandular fever, more commonly known as infectious mononucleosis, is an example of a viral infection that can spread to the lymph nodes and cause an axillary infection. Fatigue, sore throat, and swollen glands are the most common symptoms of glandular fever. There is no standard treatment for this type of viral infection, and it has been known to lie dormant for months or years, only to return again at a later date.

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Bacterial infections such as the flu or common cold have been known to cause an axillary infection. In some cases, antibiotic therapy may be used, although the infection tends to resolve on its own without any medical treatment. If symptoms become severe or it becomes difficult to move the arm, a doctor should be consulted for advice.

Those with a compromised immune system may be particularly vulnerable to the development of an axillary infection. Lupus, AIDS, or certain forms of cancer may increase these risks. Antibiotics are frequently used to treat these infections, although the underlying condition must be treated as well. Recurrent infections will likely trigger blood tests or other types of diagnostic testing in order to accurately diagnose the cause of the axillary infection.

Warm compresses, elevation of the affected arm, and the use of over-the-counter pain relievers may help to ease the symptoms associated with the infection, although a doctor should be consulted as well in order to rule out any potentially serious causes. Most infections will clear up with little to no medical intervention. In rare cases, surgical intervention may become necessary in order to drain the infectious material from the body.

An axillary infection affect the lymph nodes under the arm.
An axillary infection affect the lymph nodes under the arm.

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