Lip, Swollen (Local Allergic Reaction)
What is causing my child's lip to swell?
The sudden swelling of a lip that hasn't been injured is usually caused by a local allergic reaction to something that has gotten on the lip. If it is an allergic reaction, a child will also have symptoms of itching or tingling.
The substance causing the reaction can be a food, toothpaste, lipstick, or lip balm. Other irritants (for example, an evergreen resin) may get on the lips from the hands.
How can I take care of my child?
- Wash the lips and face with soap and water to remove any irritating substances.
- Apply ice to the swelling for 20 minutes out of the hour. This should reduce the swelling and the itch. Repeat this 3 times if necessary.
- Give an antihistamine in the correct dosage. Benadryl is available without a prescription. Other antihistamines (for example, store brands of any drug for hay fever) will also help, but Benadryl tends to give better results. Continue every 8 hours for 2 or 3 times.
- Avoid any allergic foods that are associated with the lip swelling.
When should I call my child's healthcare provider?
Call IMMEDIATELY if:
- Your child has trouble breathing or swallowing.
- Your child is acting very sick.
Call during office hours if:
- The swelling lasts for more than two days.
- The swelling becomes worse.
- You have other questions or concerns.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-06-19
Last reviewed: 2010-06-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes
available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical
evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.