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Numbness/tingling in face. Is it VIRAL NERVE?

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Last night I went to the ER as I was having a numbness/tingling in the left side of my face. CT scan came back clear and the doctor said it was likely a "viral nerve." Course of action is watchful waiting. If rash develops come back to see if is shingles or if drooping or inability to close my eye develops then come back to see if it's Bell's Palsy. That's all the information I got. I'm unsure what the "viral nerve" diagnosis means and what I should do.

The sensation is back this morning, though I can't say it is better/worse than last night.

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian is online now

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 4 Days.

Thank you for your query at DoctorSpring.com
I understand your concern.
The term viral nerve is not appropriate, better way of putting it will be ' nerve injury secondary to viral infection. That is a common cause of numbness/tingling on one side of the face. The other causes as he rightly said could be due to reactivation of chicken pox or shingles, pinched nerve, or bell's palsy which is again a nerve related injury and is due to Ebstein Barr Virus. One other rare cause is lyme disease. But in that case both sides are involved.
The problem with such viral infections is there is nothing much you can do except for watchful waiting and hoping the body is able to withstand the infection. The good thing is if it was Bell's palsy, you would have developed some drooping of eyelids and deviation of angle of mouth by now. It seems more like a viral neuritis and it will recover in due course.
However do get back to me, if you develop any other symptoms.

Patient replied :

Thanks for the clarification. Is there anything I should/should not do? Also, should this not clear up on its own, how long should I wait to follow up with the doctor if the symptoms persist?

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 3 Days.

You can expect gradual recovery every day. If at any point you feel the symptoms are getting worse do report your local doctor immediately.
Viral neuritis can take up to 7-10 days to recover fully.

Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian
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MD, Internal Medicine - Stanley Medical School
Medical School - MBBS - Govt. Medical College, Kottyaam

Diagnostic Prediction - Stanford School of Medicine
Received Specialty training in Critical Care, Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Nephrology from Stanley Medical College and in Endocrinology, Rheumatology.

Hematology and Geriatrics from Madras Medical College.
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