|Children commonly get Bells palsy, a condition that causes one side of their face to be paralyzed. It usually occurs about two weeks after a viral infection, especially after infection with the Epstein-Barr (the virus that causes mononucleosis) or herpes simplex virus (a common cause of fever blisters) or after having Lyme disease. Bell palsy is thought to be an allergic or immune reaction to having one of these viruses.
Children with Bells palsy may have pain or tingling in their ear, then, the upper and lower part of one side of their face will become paralyzed (this happens very quickly, usually within hours), they will be unable to close their eye and their mouth will droop in the corner (this is all on the same side of their face). They will have a normal sense of touch and sensation on that side of their face, although they may lose their sense of taste on the front part of their tongue.
There is no treatment for Bells palsy, and although commonly used in adults, steroids are not routinely used in the treatment of children with Bell palsy. Most children will recover without any problems within two to four weeks. Some children will recover and have very mild weakness in the muscles on that side of their face and a few will remain paralyzed.
If your child is unable to close his eye, then he may need to use artificial tears and/or an eye patch to protect his eye from drying out.
No testing is usually required for children with uncomplicated Bell's palsy. If your child does not get better or if he has other symptoms, then your physician will probably order an MRI or CT of the head or refer you to a Pediatric Neurologist for further management.
A baby may have a facial palsy at birth, usually if forceps were used to assist in delivery. Most babies with this condition will recover in a few weeks with no lasting damage.