After cancelling a series of shows on his latest tour, Justin Bieber revealed that a virus has caused “full paralysis” on one side of his face. “I’m just physically, obviously not capable of doing them,” He said, on his cancelled shows.
The 28-year-old singer opened up about the condition, that has rendered his half-face paralysed, in an Instagram video recently. “Obviously, as you can probably see from my face, I have this syndrome called Ramsay Hunt syndrome and it is from this virus that attacks the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis,” he said.
“As you can see, this eye is not blinking. I can’t smile on this side of my face… So there’s full paralysis on this side of my face.”
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He added that he’s doing facial exercises “to get my face back to normal and it will go back to normal, it’s just time”. “This is pretty serious as you can see. I wish this wasn’t the case but obviously, my body is telling me I got to slow down and I hope you guys understand and I’ll be using this time to rest and relax and get back to 100 per cent so that I can do what I was born to do,” he added.
What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?
Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, also known as Herpes Zoster Oticus, is a virus infection of the geniculate ganglion of the facial nerve that occurs when a shingles infection affects the facial nerve, Dr Dhruv Zutshi, consultant neurology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj explained.
It “is typically associated with a red rash and blisters in or around the ear and eardrum and sometimes on the roof of the mouth or tongue”.
The expert said, “Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is caused by reactivation of herpes zoster virus that has previously caused chickenpox in the patient.”
In addition to painful shingles rash, Dr Zutshi highlighted that this syndrome can cause facial paralysis and hearing loss in the affected ear. “So, the virus infects the facial nerve that normally innervates and controls the muscles of the face,” he said.
According to a New York Times report, only about five to 10 out of every 100,000 people will develop Ramsay Hunt Syndrome every year, making it an extremely rare disorder.
Some other symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome can also include
Ramsay Hunt Syndrome remains commonly misdiagnosed as “many doctors have never encountered the condition”, Dr Zutshi said.
“To confirm the diagnosis, a sample of the fluid from one of the ear blisters may be taken. A tear or blood sample may also be used by the doctor. Swelling of the facial nerves may be revealed by an imaging scan, such as an MRI. Scans can also assist doctors in determining whether the virus has spread to the brain or other nerves,” He added, talking about the treatment.
Antiviral therapies and corticosteroids are commonly used to treat the condition. “Beginning these medications, as soon as possible, aids in recovery. These medications can be given intravenously (IV) in the hospital if the symptoms are severe.”
Stressing that it’s a very painful condition, the expert said that pain management, with a variety of medications, “is essential during treatment and even after the rash has faded and facial movement has returned”.
“Because patients with facial nerve paralysis have difficulty closing their eyes, eye moisturisation and lubrication are critical. Medication for nausea and dizziness can also help with recovery during treatment,” he said.