Do you find it difficult to swallow and talk? How about experiencing painful blisters on your tongue and the roof of your mouth? Such symptoms mean you might have Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
According to research, Ramsay Hunt syndrome is responsible for 12 percent of cases of facial paralysis. Before discovering the condition, it is sometimes mistaken for Bell’s palsy or another severe disease.
It is known as herpes zoster oticus, caused by the herpes simplex virus. The condition can be prevented if you get the chickenpox vaccine.
Symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
Here are some common symptoms of the disease:
1) Ear Pain
If you experience sharp ear pain and a sudden hearing loss, you might have Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
2) Swollen Glands
One of the most common signs is swollen lymph glands in your neck, armpits, and groin area. Your lymph nodes play an essential role in fighting off bacteria and viruses. If they fail to do their job, it can trigger an infection.
Herpes zoster oticus, also known as shingles, can cause blisters in your external ear canal. The virus is responsible for the outbreak. It might also spread to your mouth and face if it isn’t treated immediately.
4) Sensitivity To Light
You might find yourself sensitive to light due to the damage caused by the virus.
Ramsay Hunt syndrome might cause tinnitus, a medical condition where you hear constant buzzing or ringing noise in your ears. How can you treat this? Read on to find out.
6) Swollen Lymph Glands
If you find that your lymph glands are constantly swollen, you might have Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
7) Blisters In Your Mouth And Throat
Aside from the blisters on your ears, shingles can also cause painful blisters in your mouth and throat, as well as an unusual sensitivity to hot and cold food.
Treatment Methods for Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
1) Antiviral Drugs
Antiviral drugs are the most common treatment. According to research, administering acyclovir can shorten the duration of shingles. It’s also known to lessen its symptoms, including headache and sore throat.
2) Oral Pain Relievers
For mild pain relief, you can take medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Just make sure you read the label first for proper dosage. The pain-relieving effect usually starts within 10 to 15 minutes.
3) Anticonvulsant Drugs
The doctor might also prescribe anticonvulsants like gabapentin or pregabalin to prevent nerve pain that accompanies Ramsay Hunt syndrome. These drugs help counteract the pain signals that come from your damaged nerves.
Corticosteroids can reduce inflammation and help the immune system.
5) Intravenous Immunoglobulin Injection
If you have a severe case of Ramsay Hunt syndrome, your doctor might recommend an intravenous immunoglobulin injection for faster recovery. This treatment will only work if administered within 72 hours from when the shingles outbreak begins.
6) Shingles Vaccine
If you are around 60 years old or older, you can get the shingles vaccine to prevent future outbreaks. Your doctor might also recommend this for patients who already have Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
The vaccine works in two ways. First, it prevents the virus from multiplying further. Second, your immune system will be able to fight shingles more effectively in case of an outbreak.
7) Physical Therapy
Patients diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome require physical therapy to improve their condition and strength. It includes the following:
· Limiting Swallowing
You might need to limit swallowing as the pain worsens. Your doctor will recommend a soft and easily chewable diet.
· Showering And Bathing
You might need to use cotton balls dipped in warm salt water to clean the affected ear.
· Using A Saline Solution
Mix one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and use it to rinse your ear. Gently wipe the fluid using a cotton ball.
· Suppressing Backward Ear Drainage
When water and earwax go back into your ear, it can trigger a bacterial infection. The doctor might advise that you use cotton balls to absorb the liquid inside your ear. You can also use a rubber bulb to suck the fluid out.
8) Facial Massage
Massaging your face can help ease the pain brought by Ramsay Hunt syndrome. It also helps stimulate blood flow to the affected area, healing faster. With facial massage, you can do the following:
· Start With Your Cheeks
Begin by placing your fingertips on your cheeks. Use them to massage the area by moving your fingers in small clockwise circles.
Aside from the treatments mentioned above, you’ll also need to rest as much as possible.
After leaving the hospital, you’ll also need to continue the physical therapy exercises they provided for faster recovery.