The Exact Cause Is Unknown But Doctors Believe Its Triggered By A Viral Infection
Scientist seems to agree that the condition is caused by inflammation of the facial nerve, but there are multiple ideas about whats fueling the inflammation. Kim says one leading theory is that its due to a reactivation of the Herpes simplex virus which she describes as the same one that causes cold sores. A 2006 study in Science Direct corroborated this, finding the herpes virus in the saliva of a third of patients with Bells palsy, but none in the control group.
Other studies have suggested it may be linked to other viral infections, not just herpes. The Mayo Clinic lists nine viruses that have been linked to Bells palsy, including influenza, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, chickenpox, respiratory illness and mumps.
Scientific Evidence Backs The Claim
According to a study conducted by researchers at Liverpool, SARS-CoV-2 may be responsible for an increased number of facial paralysis. The study also said that clinicians should be aware that this may be an early presentation of the disease. The researchers concluded this by conducting a study, where they found that the incidence of Bell’s palsy in 2020 was 3.5 per cent more than last year’s rate, which was a statistically significant difference. Two of 17 patients also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, contracting with Liverpool’s incidence of COVID-19.
In another study from Japan, it was found that facial paralysis and olfactory disturbance may be a presentation of COVID-19. The study reported a case of COVID-19 in a Japanese woman, who showed facial nerve palsy.
What Is Bells Palsy
Bells palsy is a neurological condition where people experience facial paralysis. The weakening of muscles can cause partial or full paralysis on one side of the face. It is characterized by a loss of feeling in the face, a drooping mouth, and being unable to smile or frown. Experts still arent sure what causes Bells palsy, but there is evidence that viruses such as one that causes cold sores or shingles may trigger it.
In this observational study, they looked at cases for a long period of time in 9.2 billion doses, Kiran Rajneesh, MD, director of the neurological pain division in The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who was not involved in the study, told Verywell. This is a huge sample size and strong data that makes the results more reassuring.
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Fact Checking And Gatekeeping Against Fake News Is Increasingly Important
Our analysis suggests that traditional journalists generally do an excellent job of promoting verified stories and of fact checking: suppressing and debunking clearly illegitimate claims and stories. Both the Hank Aaron and Bells palsy rumours were treated with scepticism by the vast majority of traditional media outlets, many of whom refrained from commenting until official reports were released.
Our analysis also suggests that media reports and stories are treated as credibility markers by social media users. Vaccine-sceptical communities still rely heavily on traditional media reports to spread stories and add legitimacy to their perspective, as witnessed in the use of traditional media reports in Hank Aaron memes. The role of blogs and digital news channels also appears important, with news reports from non-credible sources often being shared. However, social media users appear to be aware that sharing a traditional news source is powerful, even if framed in an ironic way. This suggests that traditional journalists play an important role in framing discussions about adverse events. For the most part, they are discharging this responsibility effectivelyoutlining the real possibilities of adverse events and fact checking or rebuking rumours where appropriate.
Two Studies Evaluate Facial Nerve Palsy After Vaccination
byJudy George, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today June 24, 2021
People with COVID-19 were more likely to develop Bell’s palsy than people who were vaccinated against the virus, an analysis of medical records showed.
Matching COVID-19 patients with vaccinated individuals showed that people with COVID-19 were nearly seven times more likely to have a diagnosis of Bell’s palsy than those who were vaccinated , reported Akina Tamaki, MD, of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, and co-authors in a research letter in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
And in a case-control study published in the journal, Asaf Shemer, MD, of Shamir Medical Center in Be’er Ya’akov, Israel, and colleagues found no association between recent vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and risk of facial nerve palsy.
When Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna revealed adverse events in their trials, concerns about Bell’s palsy and the vaccines grew, observed C. W. David Chang, MD, of the University of Missouri in Columbia, writing in an accompanying the two papers.
“Epidemiologically, linking the vaccine with an adverse event requires accurate estimation of event incidence in association with the vaccine, comparison with a nonvaccinated group, and understanding of the background incidence,” he explained.
Researchers for the COVID-19 vaccine study reported no disclosures.
JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
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How To Diagnose Bells Palsy
The symptoms of Bells palsy may be mistaken as a sign of a stroke. However, doctors can usually differentiate between the two conditions.
Bells palsy causes the forehead to be paralysed, giving a smooth appearance, as if the patient has been injected with Botox, even when attempting to raise an eyebrow. If a stroke is occurring, the forehead will wrinkle as usual. Its essential to seek medical advice. to ensure any facial droop is not the sign of a more serious condition.
Symptoms of Bells Palsy include:
- Rapid onset
- Facial muscle weakness involving the upper and lower parts of the face. This causes a reduction in movement on the affected side, often with drooping of the eyebrow and corner of the mouth and loss of the fold in the nose.
- Earache on the affected side
- Difficulty chewing, dry mouth, and changes in taste
- Incomplete eye closure, dry eye, eye pain, or excessive tearing
- Numbness or tingling of the cheek and/or mouth
- Speech articulation problems, drooling
- Sensitivity to sound
Bells Palsy Comes On Quickly But Typically Only Lasts A Few Weeks
The National Institutes of Health defines Bells palsy as a form of temporary facial paralysis or weakness on one side of the face results from dysfunction of cranial nerve VII . The condition hinders an individuals ability to perform typical facial functions such as blinking and smiling.
Dr. Leslie Kim, a double board-certified otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgeon at the Ohio State University Wexler Medical School, says she sees the condition fairly often. It typically comes on very quickly, so most people will get it and within 24-48 hours, their face just drops on that side, Kim tells Yahoo Life. And most people, about 80 percent or more, start to improve as early as two to three weeks later. In the vast majority of cases, Kim says, the condition will resolve completely but in rare situations, the nerve regenerates in an imperfect way causing whats called synkinesis.
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Can Getting The Coronavirus Vaccine Lead To Bells Palsy
Man with left-sided facial paralysis
In the FDA reviews of both the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, each company included reports of several participants who developed facial weakness or paralysis, commonly known as Bells palsy. In the Moderna group, four individuals out of 30,000 reported facial paralysis, three who had received the vaccine, and one who received the placebo. Four of the 43,000 participants in the Pfizer trial developed facial nerve paralysis. All of these were in the vaccine arm of the trial. Bells palsy, which is a specific form of sudden weakness in one side of the face , occurs for various reasons, and is due to swelling of the facial nerve, which is responsible for moving many muscles of the face. The facial nerve is the seventh of twelve cranial nerves, each of which are responsible for specific functions in the head and neck, either for movement or sensation. The first cranial nerve is the olfactory nerve, which is responsible for sense of smell. Inflammation of this nerve with Covid-19 infections contributes to the commonly seen issue of anosmia, or loss of sense of smell, as an early and potentially lasting symptom of coronavirus infections.
Anosmia or loss of the ability to smell, one of the possible symptoms of covid-19. Woman Trying to … Sense Smell of a Lemon
Red eye due to exposure injury
Right sided facial paralysis.
Botox injection to forehead
You Cannot Prevent Bell’s Palsy
Because it’s probably caused by an infection, Bell’s palsy cannot usually be prevented. It may be linked to the herpes virus.
You’ll usually only get Bell’s palsy once, but it can sometimes come back. This is more likely if you have a family history of the condition.
Page last reviewed: 11 September 2020 Next review due: 11 September 2023
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Who Is At Risk
Bells palsy affects about 40,000 people in the United States every year. It can affect anyone of any gender and age, but its incidence seems to be highest in those in the 15- to 45-year-old age group. Risk factors for Bells palsy include pregnancy, preeclampsia, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and upper respiratory ailments.
Is Bells Palsy Dangerous
Although Bells palsy isnt life threatening and most patients will recover well, it is important to seek treatment and not just to rule out other medical conditions. It is essential that patients get advice on how to protect the eye, as the cornea can dry out causing permanent damage.
According to Charles Nduka, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Chief Executive of Facial Palsy UK: Studies have shown that about a third of untreated Bells palsy patients will suffer long-term problems including facial disfigurement, facial spasms and chronic pain.’
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Nhs Poster About Bells Palsy And Vaccines Is Fake
An official NHS poster warns that Covid-19 vaccines cause Bells palsy.
This is not a genuine NHS or UK government poster, and the MHRA says theres currently no evidence of higher rates of Bells palsy following vaccination.
A picture of a fake poster claiming to have been produced by the NHS warning that the Covid-19 vaccine causes Bells palsy has been circulating on Facebook.
The poster bears the NHS and UK government logos in the top corners and states PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING above a picture of a person who appears to have partial facial paralysis. Text over the image claims the poster was seen near Heathrow.
Bell’s palsy is a temporary weakness or lack of movement affecting one side of the face, from which most people recover within nine months. We have covered claims about Covid-19 vaccines and the condition before.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has confirmed that it is monitoring reports of suspected Bells palsy following vaccination, but that the number of reports so far matches the expected natural rate. This means the available data does not currently suggest an increased risk of the condition following vaccination.
Nhs Didnt Create Poster Claiming Covid
CLAIM: A photo shows a poster distributed by the National Health Service in England warning that COVID-19 vaccines cause Bells palsy.
APS ASSESSMENT: False. Any such poster was not issued by the NHS, the public health service confirmed to The Associated Press.
THE FACTS: Social media users are sharing an image of what they claim is an official poster from Englands public health service warning that COVID-19 vaccines cause Bells palsy. However, the NHS said Tuesday that it was not responsible for the poster.
The poster includes the NHS logo and a photo of a girl, who appears to have facial paralysis. It reads, Public Health Warning at the top, and says below that the COVID-19 vaccine causes Bells palsy, a condition where there is a weakness or paralysis to one side of the face.
The Department of Health and Social Care in England, which funds and oversees health agencies, also confirmed to the AP that the poster did not come from the NHS.
Scientists studying COVID-19 vaccines have not found any links between the inoculation and Bells palsy.
During the trial phase of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the company reported four cases of Bells palsy. But experts say the number of cases in the trial were consistent with the levels reported in the general population. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says available data were insufficient for FDA to conclude that these cases were causally related to vaccination.
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No Link Between Covid
To investigate a potential link between COVID-19 vaccination and neurological side effects, the researchers tracked the health of over 8.3 million people who received one vaccine dose from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, or Pfizer-BioNTech.
Among the vaccinated, there were over 594,000 people who had had a COVID-19 infection before receiving the first dose of the vaccine. The team also studied almost 736,000 unvaccinated individuals who were previously infected with COVID-19 illness and over 14 million people from the general population.
They calculated the likelihood of developing Bells palsy, encephalomyelitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, or transverse myelitis 21 days after receiving the first vaccine dose or 90 days after testing positive for COVID-19 infection.
Results showed no safety signalsinformation of a new or previously known adverse event caused by a drugbetween the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and the risk of developing any of the four neurological conditions. Even though the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were not made with mRNA, the study also found no connection between these shots and developing neurological complications.
However, in the two groups of people who previously had a COVID-19 infection, there was an increased risk of developing:
- Bells palsy
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
Patient Case Strongly Suggests Link Between Covid
The case of a patient who experienced two facial palsiesone after the first and another after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinestrongly suggests that Bell’s palsy is linked to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, doctors write in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
They describe the first case to be reported in the medical literature of two separate unilateral facial nerve palsies, where muscles on one side of the face become weak or paralyzed, occurring shortly after each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“The occurrence of the episodes immediately after each vaccine dose strongly suggests that the Bell’s palsy was attributed to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, although a causal relationship cannot be established,” the authors say.
Single episodes of unilateral facial nerve palsies were reported in the initial clinical trials of the three major COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK , and there have been subsequent case reports.
This case report describes a 61-year-old Caucasian man with no previous history of facial nerve palsy who experienced an episode of Bell’s palsy on the right side of his face five hours after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and a more severe episode of Bell’s palsy on the left side of his face two days after receiving the second dose.
The patient had a high BMI, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Both doses of the vaccine were administered to the left arm.
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What Are The Symptoms
Because the facial nerve has so many functions and is so complex, damage to the nerve or a disruption in its function can lead to many problems. Symptoms of Bell’s palsy can vary from person to person and range in severity from mild weakness to total paralysis. The most common symptom is sudden weakness of one side of the face. Other symptoms may include drooping of the mouth, drooling, inability to close eye , and excessive tearing in one eye. Individuals may also have facial pain or abnormal sensation, altered taste, and intolerance to loud noise. Most often these symptoms lead to significant facial distortion.
Bell’s Palsy Also A Common Symptom Of Covid In Pregnant Women
Accoridng to a study published in the BMJ, a case of term pregnancy diagnosed with COVID-19, after the woman saw isolated peripheral facial palsy was reported. The woman was admitted to the hospital after she experienced contractions. However, doctors noted that her left peripheral had facial nerve paralysis. As she had no other evident causes of why it may happen, doctors were puzzled. However, under the normal protocol, when she was tested for COVID-19, she was positive.
Acute facial nerve disease leading to peripheral facial paralysis is commonly associated with viral infections. COVID-19 may be a potential cause of peripheral facial paralysis and neurological symptoms could be the first and only manifestation of the disease, reads the BMJ report. The novel coronavirus has been proven to cause neurological symptoms, and Bell’s palsy may be one of the indicators of the same. Given how severe the COVID-19 infection can be, it is recommended that people continue to follow all precautions and stay safe till we have an effective, reliable, and safe vaccine.
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Study: Chance Of Developing Bell’s Palsy Rises After Covid
June 24 — People with COVID-19 are nearly seven times more likely to develop Bell’s palsy, or facial muscle paralysis, than those vaccinated against the virus, a study published Thursday by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery found.
While early reports suggested the condition could be a side effect of vaccination against the coronavirus, researchers said the study does not indicate the vaccine is at fault.
The complication, though, is uncommon, affecting well under one-tenth of 1% of people infected with the coronavirus, the data showed.
In addition, many of those who develop Bell’s palsy following infection have a history of the disorder, suggesting the virus causes a recurrence of its symptoms.
“In the early period of the COVID-19 vaccine availability, there were several media reports of Bell’s palsy associated with vaccination such concerns could erode vaccine confidence and exacerbate public hesitancy,” study co-author Dr. Akina Tamaki told UPI in an email.
However, “our data suggests that rates of Bell’s palsy are higher in patients who are positive for COVID-19 and this incidence exceeds the reported incidence … with the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Tamaki, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.