What is Bell’s palsy?
Bell's palsy, the most common cause of facial paralysis, usually affects just one side of the face. The face appears to droop on one side, making your smile lopsided and one eye resists closing. Muscle weakness or paralysis starts suddenly and gets worse for about 48 hours. The cause is unknown but it’s believed that a viral infection makes the facial nerve swell or become inflamed. Risk increases if you are pregnant, diabetic, or sick with a cold or flu. It can happen at any age, and men and women are equally affected. It’s more likely to occur between the ages of 15 to 60.
Most people (75%) improve without treatment. Symptoms start to go away in about two weeks and most people fully recover in three to six months. Although it’s rare, Bell’s palsy can happen again, and some people continue to have symptoms for life. There is no known cure and most people get better without any treatment.