Justin Beiber's Rare Condition: Ramsay Hunt Syndrome Explained

Ramsay-Hunt-Syndrome_Justin-Beiber

Justin Beiber was recently diagnosed with a rare condition called the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. The condition is a neurological disorder and is characterized by facial nerve paralysis, which can be seen on the right side of the music artist’s face.

Also known as the Herpes Zoster Oticus, the condition occurs when a virus named VARICELLA ZOSTER infects a nerve in the head. It is the same virus that causes shingles and chickenpox. While the virus remains, it can be reactivated either spontaneously or by a known trigger such as a weakened immune system, stress or some other infection like COVID-19.

To understand the causes, symptoms and treatment of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, keep reading.

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Causes

  • The varicella-zoster virus that causes Ramsay Hunt syndrome is the same virus that causes chickenpox and shingles.
  • After the chickenpox clears, the virus may lie dormant in the GENICULATE GANGLION and may reactivate after a few years causing irritation and swelling of the nerve.
  • The condition mainly affects adults. In rare cases, it is seen in children.
  • Stress may trigger this condition.

Symptoms

The primary signs and symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome are as follows:

  • A painful red rash with fluid-filled blisters on, in and around one ear
  • Facial weakness or paralysis on the same side as the affected ear
  • Usually, the rash and the facial paralysis occur at the same time. 
  • Sometimes one can happen before the other. 
  • Other times, the rash never occurs.

Other symptoms include-

  • Ear pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty closing one eye
  • A sensation of spinning or moving (vertigo)
  • A change in taste perception or loss of taste
  • Dry mouth and eyes

Treatment

Prompt treatment of Ramsay Hunt syndrome can ease pain and decrease the risk of long-term complications.

Medications may include:

  • Antiviral drugs. Medications such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) or valacyclovir (Valtrex) often help combat the chickenpox virus.
  • Corticosteroids. A short regimen of high-dose prednisone appears to boost the effect of antiviral drugs in Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
  • Anti-anxiety medications- Drugs such as diazepam (Valium) can help relieve vertigo.
  • Pain relievers-  The pain associated with Ramsay Hunt syndrome can be severe. Prescription pain medications may be needed.

Prevention

Fortunately, there is another vaccine, Zostavax, which is helpful in preventing viral reactivation. Consequently, shingles and Ramsay Hunt syndrome can be either prevented or their symptoms reduced if the vaccine is administered. 

We hope this article helped you understand the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. 

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Kashika Walia

Kashika Walia is a Senior Content Writer at PrepLadder. She is devoted to give her readers easily digestible and high-value content that makes their journey towards their dream career incredibly easy.