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‘This eye is not blinking’: Justin Bieber shares horror health battle as he cancels shows

Fitness & Health:

Pop superstar Justin Bieber has been forced to pull out of a series of shows on his latest Justice tour owing to a diagnosis of Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Ramsay Hunt syndrome (herpes zoster oticus) is a viral infection that occurs when a shingles outbreak affects the facial nerve near one of your ears. Bieber, who has cancelled performances in Toronto, Washington DC and New York, has vividly described his symptoms in a video on Instagram.

The Canadian popstar said he had been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome after a virus had damaged the nerves in his ear. 

He said he was suffering a “pretty serious” case in a video he posted to his Instagram page.

He said: “It is from this virus that attacks the nerve in my ear in my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis.

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“As you can see, this eye is not blinking. I can’t smile on this side of my face. This nostril will not move, so there’s full paralysis on this side of my face.”

During the three-minute long video, Bieber tries to smile, blink and move his face but parts of his face would not react.

He said he has been doing facial exercises to recover.

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The superstar expressed regret at having to cancel his shows but emphasised the debilitating nature of his symptoms.

“So for those who are frustrated by my cancellations of the next shows, I’m just physically, obviously not able of doing them,” he said. “This is pretty serious as you can see.”

He continued: “I wish this wasn’t the case but obviously my body is telling me I gotta slow down.

“I hope you guys understand, and I’ll be using this time to just rest and relax and get back to 100% so I can do what I was born to do. But in the meantime, this ain’t it.

“We don’t know how much time it is going to be but it’s going to be OK, I have hope and I trust God. I trust it is all for a reason. I’m not sure what that is right now but in the meantime I am going to rest.”

Ramsay Hunt syndrome – how to spot it

There are two main signs and symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

According to the Mayo Clinic, these are:

  • A painful red rash with fluid-filled blisters on, in and around one ear
  • Facial weakness or paralysis on the same side as the affected ear.

“Usually, the rash and the facial paralysis occur at the same time. Sometimes one can happen before the other,” explains the health body.

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“Other times, the rash never occurs.”

If you have Ramsay Hunt syndrome, you might also experience:

  • Ear pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty closing one eye
  • A sensation of spinning or moving (vertigo)
  • A change in taste perception or loss of taste
  • Dry mouth and eyes.

How is it treated?

According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), the treatment of Ramsay Hunt syndrome commonly involves antiviral medications, such as acyclovir or famciclovir, in conjunction with corticosteroids, like prednisone.

“Most authorities agree that beginning antiviral treatment within three days of onset appears to have the greatest benefit as prompt diagnosis and management seems to improve outcomes,” explains NORD.

The health body continues: “Despite therapy, some degree of facial paralysis and hearing loss may become permanent in some cases.

“Further treatment is directed towards specific symptoms that are apparent in each individual.”


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