What to do about Bell's palsy

Published: January, 2010

Recovery takes time, patience, proper eye care, and maybe a medication.

Bell's palsy is a sudden paralysis involving the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of the face. It can cause startling changes on the affected side: a drooping mouth, a sagging eyebrow and lower eyelid, and an eye that won't fully close. Bell's palsy is not life-threatening, and its symptoms are usually temporary, but they can be very distressing, interfering not only with facial appearance but also with the ability to speak, eat, sleep, or enjoy food. Recovery can take weeks to months, during which many people curtail their usual activities; some become socially isolated.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »