On Friday, the whole world woke up to hear of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, the syndrome that is haunting our global star Justin Bieber.
The Canadian singer revealed he is unable to move half of his face. Also, he cannot perform on stage anymore due to the facial paralysis.
For those of us who might have encountered this ailment for the first time, this is an opportunity to learn about it.
What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?
The syndrome is a painful rash around the ear, on theface, or on the mouth. The Ramsay Hunt Syndrome occurs when the varicella-zoster virus infects a nerve in the head.
What are the possible cause of the syndrome?
Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox and shingles.
The virus is thought to infect the facial nerve near the inner ear in persons who have this disease. The nerve becomes irritated and swells as a result of this.
Adults are the ones who are most affected. It’s only observed in children in a few situations.
Symptoms of the syndrome
You are likely to have the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome if you experience these symptoms;
- Weakness on one side of the face
- Severe pain in the ear
- Painful rash on the eardrum, ear canal, earlobe, tongue
- Sensation of things spinning
- and hearing loss on one side
Can it be prevented?
Although there is no known way to avoid Ramsay Hunt syndrome, early treatment with drugs can help in recovery.
When do I contact a health care provider?
If you lose facial movement or have a rash on your face, or if you have facial paralysis, call your doctor, or visit the nearest health care provider.
Tests required to detect syndrome
Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is usually diagnosed by looking for signs of weakness in the face and a blister-like rash. A healthcare provider may conduct these tests to detect the syndrome:
- Blood tests for the vrus
- Lumbar puncture, which is used in rare cases
- Skintests for varicella-zoster virus
- MRI of the head
- Nerve conduction
What are possible complications?
Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause a variety of complications, including:
- Loss of movement causes changes in the look of the face (disfigurement).
- Changes in taste
- Eye damage (corneal ulcers and infections), leading in vision loss
- Nerves that grow back to the wrong structures and create inappropriate movement reflexes — for example, smiling causes the eye to close.
- Persistent discomfort (postherpetic neuralgia)
- Muscle spasms in the face or eyelids.
The virus can occasionally spread to other nerves, as well as the brain and spinal cord. This can lead to:
- Weakness in the limbs
- Pain in the nerves
If these symptoms appear, you may need to go to the hospital. A spinal tap may be used to assess if other parts of the nervous system are contaminated.
How is the syndrome treated?
Steroids (such as prednisone) are commonly prescribed as strong anti-inflammatory medicines. Antiviral medications like acyclovir and valacyclovir may be prescribed.
If the pain persists despite the use of steroids, strong painkillers may be required. Wear an eye patch while your face is weak to prevent injury to the cornea (corneal abrasion) and other eye damage if your eye does not close completely. To keep their eyes from drying out, some people use a specific eye lubricant at night and artificial tears throughout the day.
If you’re experiencing dizziness, your doctor may recommend different medications.
We wish Justin Bieber a speedy recovery from the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome and pray he heads on to the studio and stage soon.
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