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
- 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
- Ronthal M. Bell's palsy: Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 10, 2012.
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- Ronthal M. Bell's palsy: Prognosis and treatment in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 10, 2012.
- Bell's palsy. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/neuro-ophthalmologic_and_cranial_nerve_disorders/bells_palsy.html?qt=&sc=&alt= . Accessed Jan. 10, 2012.
- Numthavaj P, et al. Corticosteroid and antiviral therapy for Bell's palsy: A network meta-analysis. BMC Neurology. 2011;11:1
- Van der Veen EL, et al. A small effect of adding antiviral agents in treating patients with severe bell palsy. Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. In press. Accessed Jan. 10, 2012.
- McAllister K, et al. Surgical interventions for the early management of Bell's palsy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2011;(2):CD007468. http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews. Accessed Jan. 10, 2012.