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Developed swelling on lips. Took benedryl. Have hives. Have swollen face. Poison ivy?

Jul 2013
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 2148 Questions
Last night my lip developed a hard swelling on one side very suddenly. At first I thought 'cold sore", which I've only had around 2x in my whole life (Female, 52yo). Soon my whole lips were swelling. I took a benedryl and fell asleep. Today my whole face, around mouth and right eye especially, are very swollen. The thing is, I got a poison Ivy type rash 3 or 4 days ago. After around 24 hours it seemed to be spreading to my torso, chest, and neck, but now I'm thinking it may have been hives and not the contact rash. Original outbreak was on inner thighs, which led me to deduce I'd gotten poison Ivy or oak when I walked in woods 3 days prior and straddled a log (wearing jeans, but the wore same ones a second day). So is my swollen face possibly, or even likely, from the poison ivy? I am in between insurance plans, and have no primary care Dr. yet, having moved to a new state. What do you recommend I do?
Posted Wed, 6 Nov 2013 in Asthma and Allergy
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 46 minutes later
Brief Answer:
It could be a Hypersensitivity reaction.

Detailed Answer:
Hi, thanks for writing to XXXXXXX

Sudden development of swelling and rash spreading all over the body typically suggests an Allergic/Hypersensitivity reaction to an unknown allergen ( possibly contracted during your walk through oak woods ).

Along with the involvement of the lips and face,some times, these allergic reactions may lead to swelling of the pharynx and larynx leading to respiratory insufficiency which may be threatening. In this setting, immediate Intravenous steroids are to be administered to resolve the swelling.

There is no role for self care measures or home remedies in your case.

I suggest you to attend the ER in your nearest locality for a proper workup and further management.

Hope I have addressed your query.

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