Swelling of the lips can arise due to different conditions.
- Trauma or injury to the lip and mouth area is an obvious cause of swollen lips.
- Allergic reactions, either to foods, medications, or other substances, can often be accompanied by swelling of the lips.
- Angioedema is a condition in which there is swelling of the tissue beneath the skin, and this is often concentrated around the eyes and lips.
- Some infections (such as herpes simplex virus infection) can result in blisters (sometimes referred to as cold sores) and localized swelling of the lips.
- Infections and inflammatory conditions of the skin can also lead to inflammation and swollen lips (cheilitis).
Less commonly, medical conditions or illnesses that affect the entire body may cause lip swelling, sometimes in association with fluid retention or swelling in other areas of the body.
Other Causes of Swollen Lip
- Bacterial Infections
- Cosmetic Surgery (Lip Injections or Implants)
- Erythema Multiforme
- Hunter Syndrome (Mucopolysaccharidosis Type II)
- Medication Side Effects
- Vitamin B2 Deficiency
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Causes of Swollen Lip
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
Bug Bites and Stings
Bug bites and stings have been known to transmit insect-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease. Though most reactions to insect bites and stings are mild, some reactions may be life-threatening. Preventing bug bites and stings with insect repellant, wearing the proper protective attire, and not wearing heavily scented perfumes when in grassy, wooded, and brushy areas is key.
Burns (First Aid)
Burn types are based on their severity: first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns are similar to a painful sunburn. The damage is more severe with second-degree burns, leading to blistering and more intense pain. The skin turns white and loses sensation with third degree burns. Burn treatment depends upon the burn location, total burn area, and intensity of the burn.
Cellulitis is an acute spreading bacterial infection below the surface of the skin characterized by redness, warmth, inflammation, and pain. The most common cause of cellulitis is the bacteria staph (Staphylococcus aureus).
Cold Sores (Nongenital Herpes Simplex Infections)
Herpes simplex infections are common and when they appear around the mouth and lips, people often refer to them as "cold sores" and "fever blisters." Canker sores are different than cold sores. Air droplets can spread the virus, as can direct contact with the fluid from the blisters. Cold sore treatment include over-the-counter medication, as well as prescription medications.
Eczema refers to skin inflammation. There are many different types of eczema that produce symptoms and signs that range from oozing blisters to crusty plaques of skin. Treatment varies depending upon the type of eczema the person has.
The most common food allergies are to eggs, nuts, milk, peanuts, fish, shellfish, strawberries and tomatoes. Symptoms and signs include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, itching, hives, eczema, asthma, lightheadedness, and anaphylaxis. Allergy skin tests, RAST, and ELISA tests may be used to diagnose a food allergy. Though dietary avoidance may be sufficient treatment for mild allergies, the use of an Epipen may be necessary for severe food allergies.
Hives (Urticaria & Angioedema)
Hives, also called urticaria, is a raised, itchy area of skin that is usually a sign of an allergic reaction. The allergy may be to food or medications, but usually the cause of the allergy (the allergen) is unknown.
Hunter Syndrome (Mucopolysaccharidosis II, MPS II)
Hunter syndrome (mucopolysaccharidosis II, MPS II) is an inherited or genetic disease. Signs and symptoms of Hunter syndrome include diarrhea, voice changes, facial changes, and distended abdomen. Treatment for Hunter syndrome is geared toward symptoms of the disease with idursulfase or Elaprase (enzyme replacement therapy).
Myxedema (Crisis) Coma
Myxedema (crisis) coma is the loss of brain function due to severe longstanding low levels of thyroid hormone in the blood. Myxedema coma is a life-threatening complication of hypothyroidism. Examples of triggers of myxedema coma include medications, infections, strokes, and trauma.Some of the symptoms of myxedema coma include hypothermia, seizures, difficulty breathing, and coma. Treatment of myxedema coma depend on the severity of the condition.
Sunburn (Sun Poisoning)
Sunburn is caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. UV rays can also damage the eyes. Repeated overexposure to UV rays also increases the risk for scarring, freckles, wrinkles, and dry skin. Symptoms of sunburn include painful, red, tender, and hot skin.The skin may blister, swell, and peel. Sun poisoning (severe sunburn) include nausea, fever, chills, rapid pulse, dizziness and more. Home remedies can help relieve sunburn pain, blisters, and peeling. Severe sunburns may need medical treatment. Sun protection and sunscreen for an person's skin type is recommended to decrease the chance of a severe sunburn and sun poisoning.
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