Bell's Palsy in Children: Care Instructions

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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. Your child also may get medicine.

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 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 if you think your child is having a problem with the medicines. 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, talk to your child's doctor about taping their eye shut with clear medical tape or using an eye patch at bedtime. This may help your child sleep.
  • Have your child wear glasses or goggles to keep dust and dirt out of the eye.
  • Help your child brush and floss their teeth often to help prevent tooth decay.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor 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 their 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 if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.