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What Causes Bell’s Palsy?

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Bell’s palsy is a condition that affects the facial nerves. Although not usually a long-term condition, it can lead to other serious complications.

What Causes Bell’s Palsy?

It is not uncommon for the baby to suffer birth injuries during the birthing process. Delivery not only puts a lot of stress and trauma on the mother due to contractions and the pain caused by it, but also affects the baby. Inaccurate medical procedures, and the failure of medical practitioners and care givers to prevent, detect, and immediately treat birth injuries, can lead to serious conditions like brain injuries and physical deformities. This can severely alter the life of the baby as well the parents.

What is Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s palsy is a condition that can affect the facial nerves. Bell’s palsy is characterized by paralysis or weakness in one side of the facial features. This happens when the a facial nerve that connects the brain and the facial muscles gets inflamed, starts to swell, moves within the skull and gets pinched by the bone. Any of these conditions can result in the nerves inability to transmit messages to the facial muscles and back. The symptoms of Bell’s palsy, apart from weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles, can include:

  • Excessive tears or excessively dry eyes
  • Increase in sensitivity of the ear to sound
  • Drooling and drooping
  • Loss of or decreased sense of taste
  • One-sided smile

Though a basic understanding about the causes of Bell’s palsy is known, there is still a lot of ambiguity with regards to the exact causes of Bell’s palsy. According to research, Bell’s palsy can be linked to infections caused by a number of viruses. They are:

  • Influenza
  • Shingles and chicken pox
  • Mumps
  • Mononucleosis
  • Rubella
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Adenovirus and other respiratory viruses
  • Genital herpes and cold sores
  • Coxsackievirus, also known as Hand-foot-and-mouth disease

Apart from viruses, Bell’s palsy can also be caused when there is trauma to the face where the facial nerve and the surrounding bone get injured. Other traumas like head trauma, bone fractures in the face or ear, surgical wounds in the face, or injuries to the brain stem can also cause Bell’s palsy. However, despite this available information, the cause for certain cases of Bell’s palsy remain unknown.

Bell’s Palsy in Infants

As is the case for adults, the cause of Bell’s palsy in many infants is also unknown. However, a pregnant mother with any of the aforementioned viral infections may risk her baby developing Bell’s palsy after birth. It is believed that injuries during birth can also lead to trauma to the facial nerve resulting in Bell’s palsy.

In cases where the cause of Bell’s palsy is unknown or undetected, especially among infants, claiming compensation can be challenging. In such cases, it becomes difficult to ascertain whether the condition has been caused due to a pre-existing infection, or the infant has suffered a birth injury.

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