Bell's palsy is the most common cause of facial paralysis. It usually affects just one side of the face. Symptoms appear suddenly and are at their worst about 48 hours after they start. They can range from mild to severe and include
- Drooping eyelid or corner of mouth
- Dry eye or mouth
- Excessive tearing in the eye
- Impaired ability to taste
Scientists think that a viral infection makes the facial nerve swell or become inflamed. You are most likely to get Bell's palsy if you are pregnant, diabetic or sick with a cold or flu.
Three out of four patients improve without treatment. With or without treatment, most people begin to get better within 2 weeks and recover completely within 3 to 6 months.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Treatments and Therapies
- Bell's Palsy Treatment (American Academy of Ophthalmology) Also in Spanish
- Bell's Palsy: Treatment with Steroids and Antiviral Drugs (American Academy of Neurology) - PDF
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Bell Palsy (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Bell's palsy and influenza(H1N1)pdm09 containing vaccines: A self-controlled case series.
- Article: Lyme disease and Bell's palsy: an epidemiological study of diagnosis...
- Article: Bidirectional association between Bell's palsy and anxiety disorders: A nationwide...
- Bell's Palsy -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Find a Neurologist (American Academy of Neurology)
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Also in Spanish
- Bell's Palsy (For Kids) (Nemours Foundation)