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Facial swelling

Puffy face; Swelling of the face; Moon face; Facial edema

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Causes

Causes of facial swelling may include:

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

Definition

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

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.

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.

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

Review Date: 1/26/2017
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.

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