January 12, 2010

Symptoms & Treatment for Swollen Lip Bite

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Chalk it down to clumsiness, an accident or an insect bite; the odds are that you have experienced a swollen lip at some point of time or the other. Swollen lips can be due to a number of reasons, some of them avoidable and others not. Possible reasons for a swollen lip include:

  • A habit of biting your lips constantly
  • Trauma to the lips or mouth caused by an accident or sports injury
  • An insect bite on the lip
  • A reaction to an insect bite anywhere else on the body
  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Health deficiencies
  • Extreme climate

Treatment for a bitten or swollen lip will depend on the cause of the condition. Extra care needs to be taken when treating cuts, bruises and bites on the lips as the mouth is rich in blood vessels and even the smallest injury could result in excessive bleeding. The area of the lip and tongue also takes time to heal, as it is extra vulnerable to infections due to exposure to food and other contaminants. In cases of bitten lips caused by contact sports such as soccer or boxing, it may be wiser to protect your lips, tongue and teeth from injury by wearing a mouth guard.

If you suffer from a bitten or swollen lip, you should:

  • Clean the area with water and a gentle soap
  • You can also rinse the area with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water but make sure you do not swallow any of the solution
  • If the lip is bruised or swollen, apply an ice pack to the area to reduce inflammation and pain
  • If there is excessive bleeding or the skin has been cut, you may require stitches to close the wound
  • Since the mouth contains bacteria and food can contaminate the wound, antibiotics are generally prescribed to prevent any infection and further complications
  • While the lip heals, it is important that you avoid spicy or hot foods that may aggravate the inflammation and slow down the healing process
  • For cuts on the lip, mix a teaspoon of salt in warm water and apply this water on the lips with cotton wool. This may burn for a bit but is an excellent remedy to heal the wound and prevent infections.
  • Apply aloe vera gel on the bitten or wounded lip to reduce inflammation and pain
  • A regular intake of ginger tea is believed to help reduce edema or swelling of the lips.

If your swollen lip is accompanied by the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately:

  • Fever
  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Pus at the site of the wound or cut
  • The swelling and pain does not lessen even after a few days
  • A foul smell from the wound
  • Swelling of the glands below the jaw line

Another common cause of swollen lips is insect bites. When you are bitten by an insect, the venom from the insect results in an allergic reaction and symptoms such as swelling, redness, itching and a skin rash can develop. The severity of the reaction can differ from person to person and some people are more sensitive to bug bites than others.

For cases of insect bites such as bee stings or spider bites on the lips, following are some simple home remedies that can help alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by the bite:

  • Remove the stinger and wash the area thoroughly with water.
  • Apply a paste of baking soda and water on the affected area to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Since a swollen lip is an allergic response, oral antihistamine medication will help reduce the effect of histamine in the body and prevent itching and inflammation.
  • Steep a bag of chamomile tea in hot water. Remove the tea bag, let it cool and place it on your lips to reduce swelling.
  • Black tea has astringent properties that may help reduce inflammation. Simply soak a tea bag in warm water, remove the bag and place it over the lips. Repeat as often as necessary to reduce swelling.
  • Crush some marigold or calendula plants and apply as a poultice to the affected area. This is a popular home remedy for lip bites and swelling and can also help reduce pain.

In cases of insect bites and swollen lips, it is very important to keep an eye out for symptoms of anaphylactic shock. Severe allergic reactions if not treated in time could even prove fatal. Therefore if you experience any of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing or uncontrollable coughing
  • Swelling of the face, tongue, palms of the hand and soles of the feet
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Confused or incoherent
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Hives or rash all over the skin