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

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

Bieber cancels 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 is telling me to slow down,” he said.

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

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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, the same virus that causes chickenpox and shingles. But after a case of chickenpox is resolved, the virus can still be reactivated years later.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome mainly affects adults over the age of 60 and 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 main symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome are:

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

People may also experience ear pain, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and difficulty closing one eye. Some cases can have complications, including permanent hearing loss and vision weakness, eye damage, and more.

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

If a person has a rash with blisters, they should avoid physical contact with individuals who have not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, including newborns, pregnant women or anyone with a weak immune system, Mayo Clinic advises.

How do you treat Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

People with Ramsay Hunt syndrome may need medications, including:

Antivirals Corticosteroids Anti-anxiety drugs Other pain relievers

According to the Mount Sinai Health System, a person’s chances of recovery are better if they begin treatment within three days of the onset of symptoms.


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