Our health is one of those day-to-day things we take for granted until it is adversely affected. Are you a hypochondriac? Or do you just have a general fear of the unknown? Either way, finding a weird bump under the skin is unsettling. It’s a symptom of endless illnesses, so how do you know if you should worry?
You don’t necessarily have a mental illness if finding a mystery lump in the skin scares you. Let us ease your distress by shedding light on what it could mean.
What to Do When You Find a Lump Under the Skin
First, breathe and relax. Nothing has happened yet and stress exaggerates everything health related. Next, pick up the phone to schedule an appointment with your doctor. No matter what the search results tell you, only a trained physician can make final determinations.
Post-diagnosis, you will have more decisions to make about your care. You will be presented with a host of choices in your treatment plan.
Educating yourself about the condition is an empowering way to approach the situation. Then when the doctor says a lengthy word, you will have better chances of knowing what he is talking about.
Infected Lymph Nodes
One of the most ubiquitous sources of skin bumps is inflamed lymph nodes. The lymphatic systems is tasked with eliminating waste and toxins from the body. Because of the direct contact with ickiness, the nodes are prone to swelling and inflammation. There are between 500 and 700 lymph nodes throughout the human body, meaning these lumps can pop up anywhere.
Bacteria and viruses cause the lymph nodes to puff up until the forces are defeated. It can feel like a little pea or kidney bean is under your skin. The state of infected lymph nodes is called lymphadenitis and is not serious. A quick round of antibiotics or rest and fluids are perfect cures.
In rare cases, a puffy lymph node is an indicator of cancer. Lymphoma is cancer of the actual lymphatic system, but other cancers are prone to spread to the lymph nodes. Leukemia, a cancer of the blood, is also an active irritator of lymph nodes.
All About Cysts
If you are a homo sapien, expect to discover a cyst on your body sometime in the duration of your life. These hard bumps boil up to the skin surface as a reaction to irritation. They are filled with fluid and pus and are awesomely disgusting, but not dangerous. It’s just the body’s way to rejecting something it finds inhospitable.
Cysts appear in all segments of the body, external and internal. Naming them and treating them is based on location, severity, infection, and pain. Cysts that present on the skin include:
- Epidermoid cyst. Caused by a buildup of keratin under the skin.
- Sebaceous cysts. These slowly form from the sebaceous gland that produces oil to coat skin and hair. Overproduction or clogging from dirt and dead skin cells can cause them.
- Ganglion cyst. Classified by its location on the wrist or hands. These sometimes mimic a bone spur.
- Pilonidal cyst. Occurs at the top of the buttcrack and is heavily influenced by hormones. Can be caused by friction from clothing.
- Cystic acne. A severe form of acne that includes large, pus-filled blemishes.
Contagious Skin Diseases
Another culprit of hard skin bumps is disease. Skin disease is particularly at risk of being contagious, spreading by touch between people. Here are some familiar ones to watch out for:
Molluscum contagiosum. This viral infection causes smooth growths that resemble warts, but with an indentation in the middle. It affects children from 1 to 12 the most, but can strike people of all ages. The bumps, called mollusca, can match the skin, be pink, or be white.
MRSA. A strain of staph infection that is highly contagious, partly because of its resistant to antibiotics. Sometimes appears as hard bumps or pus-filled wounds.
If you find evidence of contagious skin disease on your body or on your children’s body, it is your public health responsibility to get to a doctor ASAP. The faster you seek treatment the less risk of an outbreak or epidemic in your workplace, school, or neighborhood.
Non-Contagious Skin Infections
A rash on the skin that isn’t contagious still needs medical attention, but is no longer public problem. These conditions stem from internal forces that can’t be passed along to another being.
Folliculitis. Bacteria can travel down the hair shaft and infect the follicle, creating hard bumps and pimples.
Eczema. This is actually an autoimmune disorder with symptoms of a skin infection.
Drug interactions. Sometimes when we take a pill for one thing, it sparks an adverse reaction that leads to a bumpy rash. You can’t spread that rash to someone else unless they also are allergic to that drug and you deal it to them. Personal contact won’t spread this style of skin outbreak. Any drug can ignite a reaction, but some are more likely to than others. Antibiotics like penicillin and pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen are common triggers.
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