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6/15/22 blog post

could Ramsay Hunt syndrome affect my child?

As the media buzzes about Justin Bieber’s latest diagnosis of Ramsay Hunt syndrome (RHS), many parents have grown worried that this is yet another health concern that could potentially affect their children. To understand more about the condition, we sought out the help of Gogi Kumar, MD, division chief, pediatric neurology.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome

what is Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

RHS is caused by Varicella Zoster, the virus that causes chicken pox. After your chicken pox clears up, the virus still lives within your nerves, and can reactivate many years later. When it does, it can affect your facial nerves and hearing.

what are the signs and symptoms parents should look for?

RHS is characterized by two main symptoms. Namely a painful rash with fluid-filled blisters on, in and around one ear, as well as facial weakness/paralysis on the same side as the affected ear. Pain in the ear and ringing in the ears can also be present.

who is affected by this condition?

Only 5 in every 100,000 people in the United Stated develop RHS. It is very rare (and usually mild) in children. Most cases affect older adults, especially those over 60.

what can be done to treat Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

Anti-viral therapy and steroids are used to treat RHS and a majority of patients recover completely.

Simply put, this is an extremely rare condition in children with very good outcomes if treated at the right time with the right medications. Remember, Justin Bieber is not a child or adolescent anymore.

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Gogi Kumar, MD

division chief neurology
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