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
- Facial droop and difficulty making facial expressions, such as closing your eye or smiling
- 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.
Dec. 16, 2014
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- Ronthal M. Bell's palsy: Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 15, 2014.
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- Facial nerve palsy. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/neuro-ophthalmologic_and_cranial_nerve_disorders/facial_nerve_palsy.html?qt=&sc=&alt=. Accessed Nov.16, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. What is the initial therapy recommended for patients with Bell palsy? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.