Bell’s palsy, also called acute peripheral facial palsy of unknown cause, is a health condition that results in abrupt muscle weakness on one side of the face. The weakness often subsides over a few weeks and is only temporary.
However, the weakening makes the lower portion of the face look sagging. Aside from that, a person with Bell’s palsy can only smile on one side, and the affected eye struggles to close.
The public, regardless of age, is at risk of having Bell’s palsy. Moreover, experts state that the condition results from an inflamed and swollen nerve that governs the muscles on one side of the face. It is possible to be brought on by a response that follows a viral infection.
In most cases, symptoms of Bell’s palsy start to get better within a few weeks, and full recovery takes around six months. However, a minority of individuals experience some Bell’s palsy symptoms for the rest of their lives. Additionally, Bell’s palsy rarely happens more than once.
Bell’s palsy symptoms might also include the following and appear suddenly: Drooling, headache, and inability to taste.
Below are the causes associated with Bell’s palsy:
Cold Sores and Genital Herpes (Herpes Simplex)
Clinical research has revealed a correlation between the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and Bell’s palsy. Moreover, cold sores are caused by the virus Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1).
HSV-1 is thought to infect 67% of individuals under 50 globally. This virus is contagious and can infect others via contact with the infected saliva, sores, or oral surfaces. Transmission can occur at any time, although it’s more common when cold sores appear.
To this date, medical professionals are still looking for a cure for HSV-1. When a person is infected with this virus, it will remain in their body while lying inactive within the nerve cells. Among them are linked with the facial nerve.
Sometimes the virus will reactivate, causing cold sores. Moreover, up to 50% of Bell’s palsy cases examined by certain studies have HSV-1 infection. For example, one minor investigation discovered HSV-1 DNA in the saliva of 11 of 38 individuals with Bell’s palsy.
Additionally, some individuals with herpes simplex show few to no herpes outbreaks. Therefore, they also choose not to receive treatment. However, many individuals select medications that reduce symptoms and shorten outbreaks.