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What are the symptoms of Bell's palsy?

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Symptoms of Bell's palsy include drooling, a decreased sense of taste, facial drooping and difficulty performing basic face movements, such as smiling or blinking, according to Mayo Clinic. In a matter of hours or days, some people may experience mild weakness to complete paralysis on one side of the face.

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Some people with Bell's palsy may experience pain behind the ear or around the jaw on the side affected by Bell's palsy, notes Mayo Clinic. The affected side's ear may be more sensitive to noises than usual. Some people may produce less or more saliva and tears than usual. Bell's palsy may cause some people to have headaches. Bell's palsy can affect nerves on both sides of the face, but this does not usually occur. Symptoms usually come on rapidly.

Because paralysis can be a sign of a stroke, it is important to seek immediate medical attention if it occurs, recommends Mayo Clinic. If facial weakness or drooping occurs, a doctor should be consulted to determine the severity of the condition as well as what is causing it. Although mild cases of Bell's palsy usually subside within a month, severe cases may cause lasting complications, including partial or complete blindness, involuntary muscle contractions and permanent facial nerve damage.

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