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Facial swelling

Show Alternative Names
Puffy face
Swelling of the face
Moon face
Facial edema

Facial swelling is the buildup of fluid in the tissues of the face. Swelling may also affect the neck and upper arms.

Considerations

If the facial swelling is mild, it may be hard to detect. Let the health care provider know the following:

  • Pain and where it hurts
  • How long the swelling has lasted
  • What makes it better or worse
  • If you have other symptoms

Causes

Causes of facial swelling may include:

Home Care

Apply cold compresses to reduce swelling from an injury. Raise the head of the bed (or use extra pillows) to help reduce facial swelling.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you have:

  • Sudden, painful, or severe facial swelling
  • Facial swelling that lasts a while, particularly if it is getting worse over time
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever, tenderness, or redness, which suggests infection

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Emergency treatment is needed if facial swelling is caused by burns or if you have breathing problems.

The provider will ask about your medical and personal history. This helps determine treatment or if any medical tests are needed. Questions may include:

  • How long has the facial swelling lasted?
  • When did it begin?
  • What makes it worse?
  • What makes it better?
  • Have you come into contact with something you might be allergic to?
  • What medicines are you taking?
  • Did you recently injure your face?
  • Did you have a medical test or surgery recently?
  • What other symptoms do you have? For example: facial pain, sneezing, difficulty breathing, hives or rash, eye redness, fever.

Text only

Review Date: 1/16/2021

Reviewed By

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

References

Dinulos JGH. Urticaria, angioedema and pruritus. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide in Diagnosis and Therapy. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 6.

Guluma K, Lee JE. Ophthalmology. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 61.

Pedigo RA, Amsterdam JT. Oral medicine. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 60.

Pfaff JA, Moore GP. Otolaryngology. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 62.

Disclaimer

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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Edema - central on the face - Illustration Thumbnail

Edema - central on the face

This person has noticeable swelling (edema) of the face.

Illustration

Edema - central on the face - Illustration Thumbnail

Edema - central on the face

This person has noticeable swelling (edema) of the face.

Illustration

 
 
 
 

 

 
 

 
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