Lymphatic System Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Your lymphatic system is a hard-working part of your body. It cleans up leaked fluids and plays a role in protecting you from infections. Learn about the parts of your lymphatic system and what they do!

Lymphatic System

You might not like cleaning, but your lymphatic system does! Your lymphatic system is a network of vessels and body parts that collect fluids that leak out of your cells and blood. I bet you didn't know you had leaks inside of you!

Your body is mostly water and other fluids. In fact, it's more than 60% water. Most of this fluid is found in your cells and blood, but some gets out. Your lymphatic system sweeps up the leaked fluid and returns it to your bloodstream. If it didn't clean up these leaks, the fluid would build up in your body tissues, and you'd swell up like a balloon. Your lymphatic system also helps your immune system, which we'll learn about later in this lesson.

How It Works

Your lymphatic system is made up of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and organs. At the ends of your lymph vessels are lymph capillaries. You can think of lymph capillaries as little vacuum cleaners because their job is to pick up leaked fluids.

The lymph capillaries pass the fluid along to the lymph vessels. All of your lymph vessels travel toward your neck. When they arrive, they dump the fluid into large veins so the fluid can get back into your bloodstream.

Lymph Nodes

As the lymph fluid travels toward your neck, it passes through lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small collections of tissue shaped like beans, and they're part of your immune system. They remove bacteria and other bad cells from the lymph fluid. Lymph nodes also make white blood cells, which are the good guys of your immune system. They make antibodies that hunt down disease-causing cells in your body.

Lymph nodes
Lymph nodes

You have hundreds of lymph nodes in your body. Clusters of them can be found in your thighs, armpits and neck. Did your doctor ever feel your neck when you had a sore throat? The doctor was feeling for swollen lymph nodes. Sometimes, your lymph nodes swell when they're busy fighting off an infection.

Lymph Organs

The body also has a set of lymph organs whose job is to support the lymphatic system. Let's explore some of the major lymph organs.

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