Bell's palsy is weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles resulting from acute inflammation of a facial nerve. Each year in the U.S., it affects about 40,000 people, most in their 20's or over 60. While most of the afflicted fully recover within three to six months, about 10 percent suffer recurring symptoms, and a few exhibit symptoms for life. Common symptoms include sudden paralysis on one side of the face, facial drooping, changes in saliva and tear production, and ear pain. What follows are steps to help prevent the onset of Bell's palsy.
Wear a condom when engaging in sexual activity. Bell's palsy is often caused by the herpes simplex virus, which is spread through sexual contact.
Exercise caution if coming in close contact with someone afflicted with mononucleosis. The virus that causes mono, known as Epstein-Barr virus, has also been linked Bell's palsy.
Wear a long-sleeve shirt and long pants when walking or camping in wooded areas. Another infection linked to Bell's palsy is Lyme disease, which is caused by the bite of a tick. Perform a tick inspection upon exiting the woods.
Wear a protective facial shield if possible when engaging in an activity where physical contact can occur, such as sports. A hard blow to the face could result in the onset of Bell's palsy.
Wash your hands frequently to help prevent colds and the flu, which are also risk factros in the onset of Bell's palsy.