Do you want to know more about facial nerve conditions that may affect your child? If you said yes then you should consider reading our post. Here we look at Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes facial paralysis.
What Is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is a condition that paralyzes one side of the facial muscles. The inflammation of the facial nerves can weaken them and cause the problem. The nerve problem causes one side of the face to appear droopy. Bell’s palsy rarely affects both sides of the face at the same time.
The condition can affect children and adults of all age groups. Usually, the symptoms of Bell’s palsy disappear within a few weeks. Only in rare cases, some children may have certain symptoms of the illness for life .
Causes Of Bell’s Palsy In Children:
Inflammation in the facial nerves causes Bell’s palsy. The inflammation can occur due to viral infections. Viruses that can cause facial palsy are herpes simplex, herpes zoster, Epstein-Barr, influenza B, rubella, adenovirus and a few others.
Children with cold, flu or diabetes are at a higher risk for Bell’s palsy. Those who suffer from recurrent instances of Bell’s palsy may have a family history of the condition. Other risk factors for the illness can be severe ear infections, Lyme disease or facial trauma due to injuries.
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Symptoms Of Bell’s Palsy In Children:
The symptoms of Bell’s palsy usually occur all of a sudden .
- Complete paralysis of nerves on either side of the face
- Difficulty in closing the affected eye
- Inability to taste food
- Ache around the jaw line
- Pain behind the affected ear
- Dryness in the affected eye
- Facial twitches
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Severe cases of Bell’s palsy may result in some complications such as irreversible facial nerve damage, partial or in some cases a complete loss of vision. In some cases, the nerve fibers may not redevelop well and cause involuntary movements of the muscles. One example of such a movement would be an involuntary movement of the eye muscle due to voluntary movement of the jaw muscles .
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Diagnosing Bell’s Palsy In Children:
In most cases, your pediatrician can diagnose the illness based on the condition of his facial nerves. In some cases, the doctors may order some tests to confirm the diagnosis. It is because, at times, tumors, strokes, and other infections can also weaken the facial muscles. Tests like electromyography (EMG) or scans such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) can confirm Bell’s palsy as the cause of the facial nerve weakness or paralysis.
Treating Bells Palsy In Children:
The symptoms of Bell’s palsy clear away within a few weeks or months. But, based on your child’s diagnosis, the doctor may suggest a course of treatment that may include drugs as well as physical therapy. The drugs can be corticosteroids that reduce the inflammation of the nerves or antiviral medicines to halt the progress of the paralysis. If your child suffers from dryness or itchiness in the eyes due to facial paralysis, the doctor may prescribe certain eye drops or an eye patch. A massage from a certified physical therapist can prevent paralyzed facial muscles to shrink and become permanently damaged .
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It is important for parents to provide their kids with emotional support along with physical care for Bell’s palsy. In case, you notice the symptoms worsening, immediately consult your child’s doctor.
Did you child suffer from Bell’s palsy? How did you help him deal with bells palsy in kids? Please share your tips with us. Leave a comment below.
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