In 2022, Justin Bieber postponed his tour to India because of Ramsay-Hunt syndrome. And this medical disease was trending in the top-ten list on Google for weeks !! Let’s simply understand this medical condition.
What is Ramsay-Hunt Syndrome?
In simple words, it’s a type of viral infection, affecting facial nerves; resulting in weakness of one side of facial muscles. It may occur to anyone, but people with diabetes, influenza and other ear-related infections have higher chances of developing it. It is not contagious.
A patient usually develops pain in and around the ear, followed by blister-like skin lesions(vesicles) on the ear, and later, facial weakness results. Not all patients develop all three symptoms. Herpes zoster is the commonest type of viral infection, which causes this disease. That’s why It is also known in medical terms as “Herpes Zoster Oticus”. However, a number of other viral or sometimes, bacterial infections may cause swelling of the facial nerve, which in turn results in weakness of one half of the face, popularly known as “Bell’s palsy”.
This type of paralysis of half of the face happens suddenly, causing drooling of saliva from the angle of the mouth, twisted smile, and reduced blinking or inability to close the eyelid. It is because, the site of damage is the “facial” nerve, which supplies the muscles of facial expression, leading to a “saggy” face. The skin rash associated with herpes infection is reddish, painful, and occurs as blisters initially, appearing on the pinna, inner part of the ear, and occasionally extending up to the inside of the mouth. Pain with this rash may be severe. Less frequently, this infection may also affect the ability of hearing(normal sound is perceived louder ( hyperacusis)), or rarely, it changes taste perception, in certain parts of the tongue.
Your doctor can diagnose this condition, only on the basis of your symptoms and examination. Blood reports and MRIs can be done, in some cases. Treatment includes antiviral therapy, a short course of steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Physiotherapy in form of stimulation and exercise is a must, for a good recovery. Most of the patients do well with timely therapy.
Need help with Ramsay-Hunt syndrome? Book an appointment with Top Neurologist in Ahmedabad at Ansa Clinic.