WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Bell's palsy is a sudden weakness or paralysis of one side of the face. This may happen when the nerve that controls your face muscles (facial nerve) becomes swollen or irritated. Bell's palsy symptoms may range from mild to severe. The weakness or paralysis (lack of movement) that is the main symptom of Bell's palsy usually goes away on its own. It may take a few weeks to several months for your Bell's palsy to get better. Most people have no long-lasting symptoms of Bell's palsy once it gets better. Some people may have life-long problems.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Keep a written list of the medicines you take, the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list of your medicines or the pill bottles when you see your caregivers. Ask your caregiver for information about your medicine. Do not take any medicines, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements without first talking to caregivers.
- Always take your medicine as directed by caregivers. Call your caregiver if you think your medicines are not helping or if you feel you are having side effects. Do not quit taking your medicines until you discuss it with your caregiver.
- You may need ibuprofen or acetaminophen if you have pain. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease enough for you to feel better. Do not wait to take pain medicine until the pain is very bad. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it. If you are taking medicine that makes you drowsy, do not drive or use heavy equipment.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
Bell's palsy home care:
- Protect your eye: You will need to take special care of your eye if you cannot blink or your eye does not close completely. Use artificial tears during the day to keep your eye moist. These can be bought at a grocery or drug store. Your caregiver may ask you to use a special eye ointment at night. You may need to use an eye patch or wrap-around goggles to protect your eye from irritants such as dust. You may need to tape your eye shut while you sleep. 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.
- Help facial muscles and nerves: Massage your face and do face exercises when your muscle strength starts to return. Gently rub the muscles of the forehead, cheek, lip, and eye. Open and close the eye, wink, and smile wide. Do the exercises for 15 or 20 minutes several times a day.
For more information:
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda , MD 20824
Phone: 1- 301 - 496-5751
Phone: 1- 800 - 352-9424
Web Address: http://www.ninds.nih.gov
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever.
- Your eye becomes red, irritated, or painful.
- You have questions or concerns about your symptoms or treatment.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You develop weakness or numbness on one side of your body (other than your face).
- You have double vision, or lose vision in your eye.
- You have new 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.