Sad news swept over Justin Bieber fans around the world on 8 June 2022. Justin shared on Instagram that he had to postpone his remaining concert tour dates in North America until further notice. The reason was that he was diagnosed with an illness called the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
So, what exactly is this disease and how dangerous is it? Here are 3 things you didn’t know about Justin Bieber’s Ramsay Hunt Syndrome!
1. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome Is A Kind of Chickenpox
We must first understand that the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome Justin Bieber suffers from is not its own disease. Rather, the culprit behind the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome can be tracked down to one virus – the varicella-zoster virus.
This particular virus is the same virus that causes diseases like chickenpox and shingles in children and adults. And varicella-zoster virus could lay dormant in people’s nerve cells even years after they recover from those diseases.
However, these varicella-zosters could spread all over the nerves in the head over the years and reactivate. This situation causes herpes zoster oticus to occur – or what we now know as a type 2 Ramsay Hunt Syndrome – in adults or, in rare cases, in children.
It is important to note though that the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is a rare disease. Only 1% of varicella-zoster virus reactivation results in the syndrome according to research in the US National Library of Medicine.
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2. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome Symptoms and Spread
After learning about the disease, we can summarize the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (RHS) simply as skin and nervous system disease around the head. This means that aside from skin rashes, the patient may also suffer from many nerve-related problems.
According to Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, symptoms of the RHS may include:
- Painful rashes around and inside the ear, the inside of the mouth, and on the side with the infected nerves.
- Extreme pain inside the ear
- Partial loss of hearing
- Vertigo or spinning sensation
- Muscle weakness or paralysis on one side of the face
Some further complications might even occur like facial muscle spasms, change in taste, loss of vision, headaches, confusion, and drowsiness.
However, as a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, RHS can also cause chickenpox. Thus, people who never caught chickenpox or have been vaccinated against it, newborns, and pregnant women should avoid physical contact with patients with RHS.
3. The Syndrome Is Preventable and Treatable
Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is a kind of reactivated chickenpox and are pretty much preventable through taking chickenpox vaccinations. And, much like chickenpox, you could make a complete recovery in a few weeks if there is not much nerve damage.
However, RHS may lead to long-term damage if the damages to the nerves grow severe and are left untreated in time. According to Mayo Clinic, some severe RHS cases may even cause permanent hearing loss, facial weakness, eye damage, and nerve pains.
Therefore, just to be safe, it is recommended that patients seek treatment within three days after symptoms begin anyway. This is because early treatments of RHS by taking strong anti-inflammatory medicines like steroids (such as prednisone) and antiviral medicines like acyclovir or valacyclovir are crucial to help patients recover from RHS better and faster.
Conclusion: Consult Professionals If Symptoms Appear
The Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is a rare disease due to the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus. This particular disease spread all over the nervous system around the head and caused many nerve-related damages and skin diseases.
If left untreated, the RHS could grow severe and damage the nerves enough to leave long-term conditions. Thus, it is crucial for people to immediately seek medical treatment if symptoms appear as soon as possible.
The good news is that RHS is treatable with the right medicines. Patients make a complete recovery in a few weeks in most cases, especially if they take proper care as early as possible.
However, why settle for treatment for the disease when you can prevent Ramsay Hunt Syndrome by taking proper vaccinations?
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