Signs and symptoms of Bell's palsy come on suddenly, and may include:

  • Rapid onset of mild weakness to total paralysis on one side of your face — occurring within hours to days — making it difficult to smile or close your eye on the affected side
  • Facial droop and difficulty making facial expressions
  • Pain around the jaw or in or behind your ear on the affected side
  • Increased sensitivity to sound on the affected side
  • Headache
  • A decrease in your ability to taste
  • Changes in the amount of tears and saliva you produce

In rare cases, Bell's palsy can affect the nerves on both sides of your face.

When to see a doctor

Seek immediate medical help if you experience any type of paralysis because you may be having a stroke. Bell's palsy is not caused by a stroke. See your doctor if you experience facial weakness or drooping, to determine the underlying cause and severity of the illness.

Mar. 27, 2012