How to Treat a Swollen Lip Caused by Trauma

Anyone who has bumped their lip knows how quickly it can double in size when hit in a sporting event or some accident. The soft tissues of the lips are sensitive to trauma and frequently swell significantly when injured, even from a slight bump on the lip 1. Fortunately, treatment for a swollen lip due to an injury is relatively simple. With proper first aid, most swollen lips will return to normal size in a short period of time.

Clean your lip carefully with a wet cloth and a mild antiseptic that is safe to use around the mouth, such as hydrogen peroxide.

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Rinse your mouth with a solution of equal parts of water and peroxide, but do not swallow the solution. If your lip is bleeding, apply enough pressure to the cut with a gauze pad until the bleeding slows.

Apply a cold compress made of an ice cube wrapped in a gauze pad to the swollen area of your lip. Refrain from applying ice directly to your lip, as prolonged exposure to ice on the soft tissues of the mouth can result in a cold injury, such as frostbite.

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Replace the ice and pad frequently, if the cut continues to bleed, until it stops completely. Continue to apply the cold compress until the swelling subsides.

Examine the injury once the swelling begins to diminish. Look for any injury, such as a deep cut, a cut along the line between the lip and the outer skin of the mouth, puncture wounds or broken or missing teeth. Seek medical help immediately for any of these injuries.


Swelling from trauma caused by an insect sting can be a sign of an serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction resulting in anaphylactic shock. If your lips swell as a result of a bee sting or other insect bite or sting or other allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.