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Swollen upper lip, runny nose, sneezing. History of facial twitch. Food allergy or Bell's palsy?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 2349 Questions
My wife woke up this morning with a swollen upper lip on the left side of her face. This is the second time it's happened, the first was about a month ago. Both times the night before she had eaten Japanese food (chicken & shrimp with fried rice). Her other symptoms are runny nose and a little sneezing. She has been to the doctor before for facial twitching on the left side of her face. He said that he think's its bell's palsy causing the facial twitch. She hasn't experienced the twitches lately. Do you think the swollen upper lip, congestion and a little sneezing could be a food allergy from what she ate last night or from bells palsy?

Posted Tue, 11 Sep 2012 in Asthma and Allergy
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 5 hours later


Thanks for the query

The symptoms mentioned by you are the features of allergy to the shrimps consumed previous night.

Allergy is a common condition characterized by an immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated inflammation of the nasal, oral or respiratory mucosa following exposure to allergens. It is characterized by sneezing, nasal discharge and congestion, swelling in the throat or respiratory difficulty, etc. But, it is not related to Bell's palsy.

Bell's palsy is a form of facial paralysis resulting from a dysfunction of the cranial nerve VII (the facial nerve), the cause of which is not known and presumed to be of viral in etiology.

Do not worry! This is a transient phenomenon which will subside within 3-4 days. She will require oral prednisolone and an antihistaminic (such as fexofenadine or cetrizine). Prednisolone helps in reducing the swelling and nasal congestion, whereas the antihistaminic is effective in reducing the allergic component involved. You can also try using glycerine (it is hygroscopic - reduces the size of the swelling) over the lips.

There is no cure for allergy; identifying and avoiding those food materials which induce allergy can prevent similar episodes in the future.

Hope I have answered the query; I will be available for the follow-up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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