What is Ramsay Hunt syndrome? Justin Bieber diagnosis shines spotlight on the illness

Justin Bieber is canceling several upcoming concerts as he begins his recovery from Ramsay Hunt syndrome that has paralyzed half of his face.

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ustin Bieber arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Justin Bieber arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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Justin Bieber announced on Friday that he is experiencing paralysis in his face and has been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

In a 3-minute video shared on Instagram, the singer said the syndrome is “from this virus that attacks the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis.” He showed that one of his eyes is not blinking, and he is struggling to smile or move his nostril on the same side of his face.

Bieber is canceling several upcoming concerts as he begins his recovery.

“This is pretty serious, as you can see. I wish this wasn’t the case, but obviously, my body’s telling me I gotta slow down,” he said.

But what is Ramsay Hunt syndrome? What are its symptoms? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

Ramsay Hunt syndrome, also called herpes zoster oticus and Ramsay Hunt Syndrome type II, occurs “when a shingles outbreak affects the facial nerve near one of your ears,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox and shingles. But after a case of chicken pox is resolved, the virus can still reactivate years later.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome mainly affects adults over the age of 60, and it is considered rare in children, according to the Mount Sinai Health System.

What are the symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the two predominant symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome are:

  • A red, painful rash with blisters full of fluid around one ear.
  • A feeling of weakness or paralysis on the face, located on the same side affected by blisters

People can also experience ear pain, hearing loss, a ringing sensation in the ears, vertigo and difficulty closing one eye. Some cases can have complications, including permanent hearing loss and facial weakness, damage to the eye and more.

The syndrome itself is not contagious, but a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus could cause chickenpox in people who have not previously been vaccinated for it or had the condition.

If a person has rash blisters, they should avoid physical contact with persons who haven’t had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine including newborns, pregnant women, or anyone with a weak immune system, Mayo Clinic recommends.

How do you treat Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

People who have Ramsay Hunt syndrome may require medications including:

  • Antiviral drugs
  • Corticosteroids
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Other pain relievers

A person’s chances of recovery are better if they start treatment within three days after symptoms set in, according to the Mount Sinai Health System.

Read more at usatoday.com

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