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Bell's Palsy in Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Bell's palsy is paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of the face. Often children with Bell's palsy have a droop on one side of the mouth and have trouble completely shutting the eye on the same side. Bell's palsy can also interfere with the sense of taste. These things happen when a nerve in the face becomes inflamed. Bell's palsy is not caused by a stroke. The cause of the nerve inflammation is not known. But some experts think that a virus may cause it. Because of this, doctors sometimes prescribe antiviral medicine to treat it. Your child also may get medicine to reduce swelling.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think your child is having a problem with his or her medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Use artificial tears if your child's eyes are too dry. Bell's palsy can make your child's lower eyelid droop, causing a dry eye.
  • If your child's eye cannot completely close, consider trying an eye patch at bedtime. This may help your child sleep.
  • To help your child blink, teach him or her to use a finger to close and open the eyelid. This may help keep your child's eye moist.
  • Have your child wear glasses or goggles to keep dust and dirt out of the eye.
  • Have your child brush and floss his or her teeth often to help prevent tooth decay.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has weakness that spreads beyond one side of the face.
  • Your child has new weakness of the muscles of the face.
  • Your child has a skin rash or eye pain or redness, or light bothers his or her eyes.
  • Your child has a new or worse headache.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.