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Why is my child running his tongue on the side of his mouth?

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Hello, my 2 and 1/2 year old has a fever of 104 and his face is puffy. Now he has started running his tongue continuously out and to the side of his mouth. What does that mean? Is he having an allergic reaction on top of the fever (which my pediatrician says is viral)?
Posted Sat, 28 Apr 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 5 hours later
Thanks for your query.
Facial swelling associated with fever can be due to many reasons and the details given by you seem to be insufficient.I would like to know some more details on your problem to be specific in my opinion , like:

1)For how long the fever and facial swelling has been there?
2) Is the swelling present all over the face or is localized around eyes or lips?
3) Why are you suspecting it to be allergic? Are there any such exposures to allergens?
4)Is the child feeling very thirsty?
5)Are you giving him only tylenol for fever or some other medicines are also there?
Your answers will help me to suggest a better opinion with regards to your problem.

Anticipating your response

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Why is my child running his tongue on the side of his mouth? 11 hours later
Hello Dr. XXXXXXX Tayal,
thank you for your reply. Here are the answers to your questions:
so my two and a half year old son started having a fever of 101 on Wednesday night (May 25). I took him to see his pediatrician on Thursday morning, but she was out of the office, so he saw the nurse practicioner. She gave him a strep test that came out negative. His throat, ears and everything else looked good, so she said she thinks it is a virus. That night, his fever went as high as 104 F so I brought him back in to the pediatrician on Friday morning. This time the doctor was there and she also said she thinks it is a virus. I am giving him Tylenol and Ibuprofen alternating every two hours. His face by Friday morning was a little swollen on the cheeks, under the eyes. The pediatrician saw it, but she was not concerned. His appetite is ok. On Friday afternoon I started noticing he was doing the strange motion with his tongue, pushing it out to his lips, as if to wet his lips, but mainly on the right side - only occasionally. By Friday evening, as his ferver went higher, he was doing this motion continuously and it seemed to us that his lips were a little swollen and he said his tongue hurt. We were worried he might be having an allergic reaction because of the swelling. We didn't know who to ask about this and were very concerned, so we signed up for this website and asked you. I spent the night next to him and kept a very close eye on him. This morning he was back to normal and he was doing the motion with his tongue only occasionally. The fever is back up to 102 now ( 1 pm) He is feeling thirsty. He is drinking water, milk and water mixed with juice.
On an unrelated issue, I gave him some Miralax on Friday morning, with the ok of the nurse practitioner and the pediatrician knows a swell. I gave him a little less than 1/2 the dose recommended for an adult. He is having bowel movements at least once a day but we were concerned because last Friday May 20th he had abdominal pains and when we took him to urgent care they took an X-ray and saw he had a lot of poop, possibly blocking things up - we had no idea he was constipated since he had 3 dirty diapers that day. But they said that may be the stuff that was getting around the blockage. The nurse practitioner said the Miralax might help clear things out.
I realize it may be difficult for you to answer this question without seeing my son. I just wanted to make sure that the tongue thing is nothing serious as unfortunately now we have started the holiday weekend and our pediatrician will not be back in her office until Tuesday.
Thank you for your help,
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 6 hours later

Thanks for writing back.

You are very right in pointing out that at times it becomes very difficult to comment without actually seeing the patient.

Still in my opinion, a high fever is always associated with an increased water loss from the body making the child feeling thirsty which was why he was probably licking his lips repeatedly with the tongue. Once the fever subsides and his fluid balance returns, this will stop automatically. During fever always prefer fresh fruit juices over water for fluid replacement.

Hope I have answered your query. I will be available if you have any further queries.
Wish you an early recovery.


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