Lahoris at risk of facial paralysis during monsoon

LAHORE: Lahoris are increasingly falling victim of facial paralysis because of humidity and viral infections during the monsoon season, said Pakistan Medical Society President Dr Masood Sheikh on Friday. “A case of facial paralysis or Bells palsy (in medical terms) is reported to city hospitals daily,” he told Daily Times. Bells palsy is caused by trauma to the seventh cranial nerve, resulting in inability to control facial muscles on the affected side, he said. “It was named after Scottish anatomist Sir Charles Bell, who studied the nerve and its innervations of the facial muscles 200 years ago,” he said. He said that impaired immunity, stress, insomnia and an upper respiratory infection could trigger facial paralysis or Bells palsy. He said that Bells palsy has a frequency at just over two percent within the population (with geographical variations). “In human terms, one case is found in every 5,000 people,” he said, adding that it was found equally in males and females. “Facial paralysis could be devastating psychologically, particularly cases that extending for a long period of time,” he said. He said that symptoms developed quickly. “Most people are shocked to see facial paralysis when they wake up in the morning,” he said, adding that they could have symptoms such as dry eyes or tingling around lips leading to Bells palsy in a few days. He said that the patients might complain of pain, dizziness or impaired taste. He said that 50 percent of the patients recovered in a short time and 35 percent in less than a year. He said that care should be made in sharing towels, utensils, etc and people should not sleep in the open. He said that a qualified medical practitioner must be consulted in case of a problem. By Abdul Manan

Source: Daily Times, 5/7/2008

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