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How to Get Rid of Facial Swelling

The National Institutes of Health states that swelling, also called edema, is a build-up of fluids in the tissues. Facial swelling may be mild, and thus harder to detect, or severe, in which case treatment will depend on the underlying cause 1. Because severe facial swelling can indicate a serious disorder, such as a drug reaction or tooth abscess, an accurate diagnosis should be obtained from a doctor 1. Getting rid of mild facial swelling is not difficult, but will require patience before any results are visible 1.

Raise the head above the level of the heart. This allows fluid to drain from the facial tissues. Sit or stand upright, or elevate the head with additional pillows when lying down.

What Causes Facial Edema?

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Apply cold compresses to the affected area. If swelling is localized, as in a blunt impact injury or a bee sting, cloth-covered ice packs can be held in place for up to 20 minutes at a time. The sooner the cold treatment is started after an injury, the better.

Wrap the affected area lightly with an elastic bandage, such as an ACE bandage. Care should be taken to apply compression without cutting off circulation. Never wrap an elastic bandage around the neck. Compression of the affected area can also be accomplished by applying pressure to the injury or swelling.

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Take anti-inflammatory medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can help reduce the pain, inflammation and swelling due to an injury or disease. Follow dosage directions on the package.

Apply hydrocortisone cream to a localized swelling of the face that is due to an allergic reaction, such as a bee sting or contact dermatitis. Hydrocortisone cream is available over-the-counter, and can ease redness, itching and swelling.

Take an oral antihistamine for swelling due to an allergic reaction. The Mayo Clinic says that taking an oral antihistamine like Benadryl can help reduce bothersome swelling and itching 1.


A 1-lb. package of frozen corn or peas makes a great ice pack--it is moldable, inexpensive and reusable.

Facial swelling can occur when there is too much salt in the diet. If facial swelling occurs, try reducing the amount of salty foods you consume.


The National Institutes of Health says that facial swelling can indicate the presence of angioedema, cellulitis, drug reactions, sinusitis, and other diseases and conditions. Check with your doctor if your facial swelling is severe, prolonged or accompanied by other symptoms.

People with Raynaud's disease, diabetes or a sensitivity to cold should not use ice packs to reduce swelling.

The information here is not meant to substitute for or replace the advice of a physician.