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What Causes Rash and Swollen Lips?

Getting swollen lips along with rash may mean that something is going on inside your body that needs attention. You may have eaten something, or come into contact with something that you are reacting to. There are also illnesses that can make this happen. Facial or mouth swelling and a rash together are most often caused by an allergic reaction, but it could be something else going on. This article will address some of the reasons this happens and what you can do about it.

What Causes It?

If you notice swollen lips and rash on your face, this is an external skin reaction to something. If it comes on suddenly, it could be an allergic reaction and may need medical attention right away. A few of the causes are not as urgent, but may need evaluation. Some of the causes of this include:

1.    Allergic Reaction

If your lips swell suddenly and you develop a rash on your face, you may be having an allergic reaction to something you ate or put on your skin. The reason this happens is your body cannot tolerate the histamines in the food or product and fights them off. While this is happening on the outside of your body, things are also going on inside due to the reaction. Some of the other symptoms may be life-threatening, so get medical attention right away.

Other Symptoms: wheezing, shortness of breath, feeling dizzy, throat swelling, and hives (rash) all over your body.

2.    Dermatitis/Eczema

Contact dermatitis happens when something touches your skin and irritates it. A rash on your face and swollen lips may be due to something that has touched your face. This can occur with makeup, facial washes, and some things you may eat (hot peppers, citrus fruits). It may even happen with cleaning products you use around your house if they splash on your face. Also, if you hike in areas with heavy foliage this can happen if a poisonous plant brushes your face such as poison ivy, poison oak, and sumac.

Other Symptoms: burning skin, blistering, lips cracking and bleeding, red lips, and pain.

3.    Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic condition of the face that causes rashes, bumps, and swelling. It is most likely genetic, and is often mistaken for allergic reactions. While it isn’t an allergic reaction, some foods may trigger a flare-up of this condition. Triggers also include sun exposure, medications, alcohol use, and stress.

Other Symptoms: swelling in the nose, pimples, red/irritated eyes, and hot/tender facial skin.

4.    Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin. It is rarer for fungus to infect facial skin, but it can happen. Fungal infections are caused by an overgrowth of yeast and can occur due to antibiotic use, high blood sugar levels, and chronic illness. It causes a raised red rash on the skin. Swollen lips and rash may occur together if the infection is severe.

Other Symptoms: white coated tongue, itching of the skin, burning lips and mouth, and yeasty odor.

5.    Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. It usually starts as a bullseye rash at the site of the bite, but the rash can spread all over the body. This is known as “erythema migrans” and can sometimes spread to the facial areas, if the tick bite is on the upper body. It may also cause facial, eye, and/or lip swelling if the infection goes untreated. This is a bacterial infection which needs antibiotics as soon as possible to prevent complications.

Other Symptoms: joint pain, fever, headaches, nausea, fatigue, brain fog, and drainage at the site of the bite.

6.    Fifth Disease

This disease is a common viral illness in children and can cause a bright red rash on the cheeks, along with facial swelling. It is commonly known as “slapped cheeks” because the red rash appears like someone “slapped” the child on the cheeks. The virus is actually a parvovirus, which spreads when people or kids cough. It commonly occurs during the winter and spring months among school and daycare aged children.

Other Symptoms: High fever over 100.4, sore throat, joint pain, headache, and abdominal pain.

7.    Measles

Measles is a childhood virus that causes a rash all over the body. It is less common due to immunizations, but small outbreaks still occur in some areas. The rash usually starts out in the trunk area, but can spread anywhere on the body. If lesions affect the area around the mouth, the lips may swell. This virus occurs mostly in school age children, but can infect adults whose immunity has worn off.

Other Symptoms: fever, upper respiratory symptoms (runny nose, cough), white lesions inside the mouth, and eye inflammation.

When to See a Doctor

If you notice you have swollen lips and rash present, you should see your doctor right away to rule out an infection or reaction to something. If this happens suddenly and you have trouble breathing, you should seek emergency medical care.

What You Can Do?

If a doctor has ruled your condition is not serious, and does not need medical treatment, there are a few things you can try at home to clear things up. These include:

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