WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Bell palsy is a sudden weakness or paralysis of one side of your face. Bell palsy occurs when the nerve that controls the muscles in your face becomes swollen or irritated.
- Medicine may be given to decrease swelling and irritation of your facial nerve. You may receive antiviral medicine if your primary healthcare provider (PHP) thinks a virus caused your Bell palsy. Your PHP may also suggest acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce pain. These medicines are available without a doctor's order. Ask which medicine to take, and how much you need. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage, and ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding or kidney damage.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your PHP if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your PHP as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Your PHP may recommend that you use artificial tears during the day to keep your eye moist. You may need to use an eye ointment at night. You may also need to wear a patch over your eye and tape it shut while you sleep. This helps keep your eye from getting dry and infected. Wear sunglasses to protect your eye from direct sunlight. Stay away from places that have fumes, dust, or other particles in the air that may harm your eye.
A physical therapist may teach you how to massage your face and exercise the nerves and muscles in your face. This may help you get better sooner and prevent long-term problems. You can exercise on your own when your facial movement begins to return. Open and close your eye, wink, and smile wide. Do the exercises for 15 or 20 minutes several times a day.
Contact your PHP if:
- You have a fever.
- Your eye becomes red, irritated, or painful.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You develop weakness or numbness on one side of your body (other than your face).
- You have double vision, or you lose vision in your eye.
- You have trouble thinking clearly.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.