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What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome and how can you treat it?

Posted at 2:44 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 14:44:42-04

Justin Beiber recently came forward to talk about a rare condition he is suffering from called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. Many may not know about this disease which is why Hospitalist Nurse Practitioner, Dr. James Q. Simmons joined Inside South Florida to help us learn more about this condition.

“It's a pretty rare syndrome, it only impacts about five to 10 out of every 100,000 people who have ever had the chickenpox as a kid or shingles as an adult because it's caused by the same virus, the Varicella Zoster virus,” says Simmons. “This thing lays dormant in your body and for sort of unknown reasons, it will rear its ugly head into this rare syndrome which affects a specific nerve in your face and can cause different types of facial paralysis.”

It can also cause tinnitus, which is like ringing in the ears, as well as vertigo. This makes the person feel as if the world is spinning, making it hard to do daily functions. While there isn’t an exact cause as to why this is activated in your immune system, Simmons shares some factors.

“When your immune system is otherwise occupied, if you are stressed, not sleeping well, diet and exercise have been really poor, it could trigger it,” says Simmons. “Let's say you're fighting a different disease or some other ailments, and your immune system is already busy with those things, these opportunistic viruses can sort of pop up out of nowhere and cause a myriad of different syndromes.”

While you can get this virus if you have had chickenpox or shingles, Simmons says it shouldn't be something people are super concerned about because of how rare the disease is. He also shares ways you can treat it.

“Ramsay hunt syndrome is generally treated with antivirals, which can sort of mute the symptoms a little bit and help to kind of try to rid the body of this,” says Simmons. “Sometimes we get steroids with this. Ultimately, the body will fix this over time. It tends not to be a permanent thing for folks, but some will suffer with this for weeks, even months sometimes.”

For more information, follow Simmons at @AskTheNP on Instagram

Inside South Florida

10:49 AM, Jul 26, 2019

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