Bells palsy is commonly found in adult, but did you know that bells palsy could be in children as well? Yes, bells palsy in children is known recently.
Bells Palsy in Children
Facial palsy or Bells palsy is a condition where the face muscle drop or weak on one side of the face. Bells palsy cause is not fully understood, there are many factor that contribute to it. But bells palsy is often unidentified causes (idiopathic). Because of that, unknown causes of bells palsy in children called idiopathic Bells palsy, which is reasonably common in children.
Bells palsy, not only for children, is the result of inflammation (swelling) in the seventh cranial nerve, facial nerve, which control the face muscle in facial expression (e.g smiling). Not only that, but it also controls eyelid closure and partly involved with taste sensation. If there is problem in this facial nerves, then there are many problems of those function that we’ve talked above. Please read Left Sided Bell’s Palsy, Why Does It Only Affect One Side?
Bells palsy does not only strike adult, but also children. In adult, bells palsy may recover in long period of time, but it is different in children that can recover completely in time, with correct treatment based on the cause of the condition.
What causes bells palsy in children?
Nowadays, the cause of bells palsy is not fully understood, but the main problem in this disease is swelling in the facial nerves. The cause of swelling in facial nerve are many thing such as like:
- Head Trauma
- Ear infection
- Herpes virus infection-Ramsay-Hunt syndrome.
Sign and symptoms of Bells Palsy in Children
The most common sign and symptom of bells palsy in children are if they have trouble smiling, chewing their food, and raising their eyebrow. Beside that, a child may also have troubles like:
Unable to close their affected eye properly. This condtion can make the eye dry and irritated, and reduced tears.
- Facial pain or pain behind the ear.
- Unable to taste food as usual
- More sensitive toward sound.
Some children may have no sign and symptoms above. They have no severe pain, problem with sight, or weakness elsewhere in the face or other body part.
Based on the ear assessment, the doctor usually found vesicle (small fluid-filled blister) in the ear canal, tongue, or roof of the mouth. All of those symptoms indicate that the child has Ramsay-Hunt syndrome. If you found this kind of blister, you should take your child to the GP immediately.
The point is, if you found some sign and symptoms above in your children, you should take your children to GP immediately so that the doctor could prevent serious complication and determine the right treatment as soon as possible.
If you found your child develops a sudden facial droop within seconds or minutes, with or without difficulties speaking, you must call an ambulance immediately. This could be a sign of a stroke. The faster you take them to the GP, the better for your child.
Treatment for Bells Palsy
Children with Bells palsy recover more than 95% without treatment. They tend to recover better than adults.
Steroids prescription is commonly prescribed by the doctors to reduce the inflammation of facial nerve. However, almost no treatment is needed for Bells palsy in children. In recent study, there is no clear reason of steroid prescription for bells palsy.
But, bells palsy still can get worse before you see any signs of improvement. The sign of improvement usually is about 6 weeks or a year until the facial weakness completely gone. A few children may have mild, ongoing weakness in their facial muscles. In a very small number of children, they have no recovery and permanent facial muscle weakness.
What Treatment that Fit to Your Children?
Bells palsy in children sometime does not need special treatment, but if you found some cases like:
- Unable to close their affected eye. If your children have this symptom, it mean that their eye has no lubrication. This condition will make the eye dry and irritation. Doctors will suggest you to give your children with eye drops several times per day. The eye also should be patched shut at night during sleep.
- Ramsay-Hunt Syndrome. Based on the ear assessment, the doctor usually found vesicle (small fluid-filled blister) in the ear canal, tongue, or roof of the mouth. All of those symptoms indicate that the child has Ramsay-Hunt syndrome. Then doctor may prescribe antiviral medication (e.g. acyclovir) if the main cause of this facial nerve infection is from herpes virus.
- Ear infection. If you found an infection in your children ear canal, doctor will prescribe antibiotics and may recommend your children to have surgical drainage of the ear infection.
- Mastoiditis or Parotitis. If your children have Mastoiditis (infection behind the ear) or parotitis (salivary gland infection), they need to stay in hospital and have intravenous antibiotic for several days.