Prevention & Risk Assessment
What causes a neck abscess?
A neck abscess occurs during or just after a bacterial or viral infection in the head or neck such as a cold, tonsillitis, sinus infection, or otitis media (ear infection). As an infection worsens, it can spread down into the deep tissue spaces in the neck or behind the throat. Pus collects and builds up in these spaces forming a mass. Sometimes, a neck abscess occurs following an inflammation or infection of a congenital (present at birth) neck mass such as a branchial cyst or thyroglossal duct cyst.
What are the symptoms of a neck abscess?
The following are the most common symptoms of a neck abscess. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Red, swollen, sore throat, sometimes just on one side
- Bulge in the back of the throat
- Tongue pushed back against throat
- Neck pain and/or stiffness
- Ear pain
- Body aches
- Difficulty swallowing, talking, and/or breathing
The symptoms of a neck abscess may resemble other neck masses or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.