Bell's palsy is a type of facial paralysis that results in an inability to control the facial muscles on the affected side. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Muscle twitching, weakness or total loss of the ability to move one or rarely two sides of the face. Other symptoms include drooping of the eyelid, a change in taste, pain around the ear and increased sensitivity to sound.
The facial nerve controls a number of functions such as blinking and closing the eyes, smiling, frowning, lacrimation (tearing), salivation, flaring nostrils and raising eyebrows. It also carries taste sensations and because of this people with Bell's Palsy may present with loss of taste sensation.
Lyme disease may cause Bell's Palsy. Sometimes at the same time as the erythema migrans rash. Other times it occurs later. In Lyme endemic areas it may be the cause of facial paralysis in most of the cases. When Lyme disease is the cause of Bell's Palsy antibiotic therapy is indicated.