A sudden-onset condition that causes weakness in the muscles on one side of the face–in most cases temporary–this condition makes half the face droop, turns smiles into one-sided affairs, and keeps the eye on that side from wanting to close. Drooling may occur and taste be altered. Bell’s palsy can occur at any age and is of unknown cause.
Experts think it’s caused by swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of the face. Or it might be a reaction to a viral infection. Symptoms typically last a few weeks. Complete recovery generally takes about six months, with a small number of people continuing to show some symptoms for the rest of their lives. Bell’s palsy affects as many as 40,000 Americans each year, most of them between the ages of 20 and 40. It rarely occurs more than once in a person.