Allergic reactions: Swollen lips

If your child comes to you complaining of a swollen lip the first step would be to look for an injury. Have they bitten their lip? Did they bump into something or hit it? Is there some kind of physical injury?

When no physical injury is present, you are probably looking at a cold sore or an allergic reaction of some kind.

Angioedema is an allergic reaction. It is much like a hive, but swelling takes place under the skin. The welts give that fat lip appearance and sensation. Normally this is accompanied by itching or tingling.

The assumption would be that the child is having an allergic reaction and it’s time to clean the lip area thoroughly. You want to wash the lip, face, and hands with soapy water.

You want to reduce the swelling. Twenty minutes out of every hour for the next three hours you want to ice the lip. You can take an ice cube and wrap it in a wash cloth. You can do the same thing with a bag of frozen peas and avoid the drip factor. This helps relieve the itching, tingling, and swelling.

Allergic reactions happen when your immune system releases histamines. Medication can sometimes help with the swelling lip symptom if washing and icing are not sufficient. You are looking for medication that has an antihistamine. Be sure if you are treating a child, you pay close attention to the dosage. The most common antihistamine is Benadryl and it is available in children’s dosage.

Now the investigation begins. What was the allergen and how can we avoid it? Here is a list of common suspects.

*food allergies (usually fruits that are juicy lead to lip swelling)

*evergreen resin (pine sap)


*lip balm

*lip stick


*exposure to sunlight, water, and extreme temperature

*animal dander


*emotional stress

*any number of things that could have been transferred from the hand to the face

The investigation is important because you don’t want to come into contact with the allergen again if at all possible.

Any allergic reaction has the potential of becoming serious. You can have an anaphylactic reaction. This is when the patient has problems breathing. Their body suddenly drops into shock with a very low blood pressure. This is a medical emergency and it needs to be treated right away.

Although allergies are common, it’s wise to pay attention to the triggers. Once you have a negative reaction, then you know to avoid the source. Allergies can come at any age and sometimes it seems without reason.

Listen to your body and you will find health.



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