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What is the best way to reduce swelling in your face?

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 21, 2019.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

Facial swelling can be a symptom of a range of medical conditions. These can range from minor, easily-treatable ailments, to more serious conditions requiring urgent medical attention. Identifying the possible cause of the swelling helps determine the most appropriate treatment.

Common causes of facial swelling include:

  • Allergy/Anaphylaxis
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Infection
  • Injury
  • Preeclampsia - high blood pressure associated with pregnancy
  • Surgery
  • Sinusitis

Facial Swelling Causes and Treatments

Causes of Facial Swelling

Associated Symptoms

Treatment

Allergy/Anaphylaxis

  • Medication
  • Foods, such as nuts, eggs, fish and shellfish
  • Plants
  • Insect bites
  • Pollen
  • Animal dander
  • Venom
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy and runny nose or eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy or sore throat
  • Itchy hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Throat swelling
  • Coughing
  • Rapid pulse
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea

Mild allergic reactions can usually be managed with over-the-counter (OTC) medications including antihistamines (tablets, creams, eye drops and nasal sprays) and corticosteroid creams if not contraindicated.

Home remedies, such as a cold compress, ice pack or soothing cream can also provide some relief. More severe allergic reactions may be associated with other symptoms of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening. If you suspect anaphylaxis you should call 911 and go to the emergency department.

Cushing syndrome
  • Weight gain around abdomen
  • Weight loss around arms and legs
  • Thin skin
  • Purple stretch marks
  • Slow healing
  • Acne
You should contact your health care provider if you think you have Cushing syndrome, a condition where you have increased levels of cortisol in your body, especially if you are taking corticosteroid medication.
Hypothyroidism
  • Lack of energy
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Hair loss
  • Constipation
  • Sensitivity to cold
You should contact your health care provider if you think you have hypothyroidism, a condition where your thyroid gland is underactive.

Infection

  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Bumps or blisters (abscesses)
  • Bumpy skin like an orange peel
  • Bad breath
  • Toothache or sensitivity
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

If you think you have a bacterial infection you should contact your health care provider. You may require an antibiotic or other treatment.

If you think you have a viral infection, such as mumps, you should call your health care provider. Cold compresses and OTC pain relief such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) may also be used if not contraindicated.

Injury

  • Sport
  • Motor vehicle
  • Fall
  • Fight
  • Work- or home-related
  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Blurry or Double vision
  • Seizures
  • Slurred or confused speech
  • Weakness
  • Pupils of different sizes
  • Blood or fluids coming out of you ear or nose

Swelling associated with a minor injury may be treated at home with a cold compress or ice pack, which can be applied for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours. An NSAID, such as ibuprofen, may also help with the pain and swelling if not contraindicated.

If the swelling doesn’t improve or is associated with a more serious injury such as a broken bone, a traumatic head injury or concussion, you should contact your health care provider or go to the emergency department.

Preeclampsia
  • Swollen hands
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds or more
  • Headache
  • Spotted or blurred vision
  • Pain in your upper abdomen
Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure associated with pregnancy, can be life-threatening. If you think you have preeclampsia you should contact your health care provider.

Sinusitis

  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Pain
  • Pressure
  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Thick yellow or green discharge from nose
  • Dry cough

Sinusitis may resolve by itself. However, a range of self-care options can help relieve the symptoms of sinusitis at home. Nasal rinses, breathing steam, using a decongestant or steroidal nasal spray, or taking an antihistamine or NSAID may also help if not contraindicated.

If your symptoms do not improve after three days, or do not go away after 10 days, you should contact your health care provider.

Surgery Ask your health care provider for the best way to manage swelling associated with your surgery.

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