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What causes paralysis?

Q: I am a 33 years old female and I experienced a paralytic attack three years back when I went to South Africa to visit my husband. Now, I am in India. One side of my face muscle didn’t work during paralysis attack. Is it due to travelling by airplane for the first time? In South Africa, the doctor gave me steroids and told me that I might get blisters on my face or ears, but nothing happened like that. I had acne problem in the past. I lead a normal life after having steroids. Will I get paralysis attack if I travel again by air? What causes paralysis?

A:Paralysis of one side of face is commonly referred to as "Bell's Palsy" when it occurs without any other associated neurological problems. This is thought to be caused by either direct damage to the Facial Nerve (which supplies to the facial muscles) due to viral infection or as secondary damage due to dysfunction of the immune system after a viral infection. The most commonly implicated virus is Herpes Simplex virus. Some patients report exposure to cold breezy air prior to the onset. Overall, 85-95 % of patients recover near completely, others may have either incomplete or no recovery. Use of steroids and some antiviral medicines is supposed to hasten recovery. Some patients have a tendency to develop this palsy again on the same or opposite side.

Though air travel cannot be directly related to this, it is advisable to keep yourself warm, especially face and head, during travel.

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