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Health Information For Parents
The spleen is located in the upper left part of the belly under the ribcage. It helps protect the body by clearing worn-out red blood cells and other foreign bodies (such as germs) from the bloodstream.
The spleen is part of the lymphatic system, which is an extensive drainage network. The lymphatic (lim-FAT-ik) system works to keep body fluid levels in balance and to defend the body against infections. It is made up of a network of lymphatic vessels that carry
— a clear, watery fluid that contains proteins, salts, and other substances — throughout the body.
The spleen acts as a filter. It weeds out old and damaged cells and helps control the amount of blood and blood cells that circulate in the body.
The spleen also helps get rid of germs. It contains white blood cells called
and macrophages. These cells work to attack and destroy germs and remove them from the blood that passes through the spleen.
The body also uses the spleen as a place to store blood and iron for future use.
One of the lymphatic system’s major jobs is to collect extra lymph fluid from body tissues and return it to the blood. This is important because water, proteins, and other substances are always leaking out of tiny blood capillaries into the surrounding body tissues. If the lymphatic system didn’t drain the excess fluid, the lymph fluid would build up in the body’s tissues, making them swell.
The lymphatic system is a network of very small tubes (or vessels) that drain lymph fluid from all over the body. The major parts of the lymph tissue are located in the:
The heart, lungs, intestines, liver, and skin also contain lymphatic tissue.
The major lymphatic vessels are:
The lymphatic system also helps defend the body against germs (viruses, bacteria, and fungi) that can cause illnesses. Those germs are filtered out in the lymph nodes, small clumps of tissue along the network of lymph vessels. Inside the lymph nodes, lymphocytes called T-cells and B-cells help the body fight infection. B cells make antibodies — special proteins that stop infections from spreading by trapping disease-causing germs and destroying them.
Most of our lymph nodes are in clusters in the neck, armpit, and groin area. They’re also found along the lymphatic pathways in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, where they filter the blood.
When a person has an infection, germs collect in the lymph nodes. If the throat is infected, for example, the lymph nodes in the neck may swell. That’s why doctors check for swollen lymph nodes (sometimes called swollen “glands”) in the neck when someone has a sore throat. This is called lymphadenopathy.
Your wonderful lymph nodes! Lymph nodes are little round or bean-shaped bumps that you usually can’t feel unless they become swollen.
Lymph is a clear fluid that flows through its own vessels located throughout the body.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (also called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) is a is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The majority of kids with this type of cancer are cured.
Mononucleosis – or “mono” – is an infection that causes flu-like symptoms. It usually goes away on its own in a few weeks with the help of plenty of fluids and rest.
Lymphoma is cancer that begins in the body’s lymphatic tissue. It’s a common type of cancer in children, but most recover from it.
Everybody’s heard of tonsils, but not everyone knows what tonsils do in the body or why they may need to be removed. Find out here.
A tonsillectomy is surgery to remove the tonsils. It’s one of the most common surgeries kids and teens get. Find out more.
It’s sometimes called “the kissing disease,” but kissing is just one of the ways that someone can catch mono.
Cat scratch disease is an infection that causes swelling of the lymph nodes after a cat scratch or bite. Learn about signs and symptoms, prevention, treatment, and more.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. Most kids and teens who get Hodgkin lymphoma get better.
If your tonsils get infected, it can make your throat feel very sore. Find out more in this article for kids.
The lymphatic system is an extensive drainage network thatÂ helps keep bodily fluid levels in balance and defends the body against infections.
Here are the basics about the life-sustaining fluid called blood.
You’ve heard of glands, but what are they? Find out in this article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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