Mum Ruth Ferguson highlights Bell's palsy in Facebook video

Media caption,
Mum makes Bell's palsy awareness video

A new mother has told how she feared she had suffered a stroke when her face drooped just weeks after giving birth to her first child.

Instead, doctors told Ruth Ferguson she had Bell's palsy, a condition which has left one side of her face temporarily paralysed.

She finds it difficult to talk and eat, and she has to drink through a straw.

But now the 31-year-old nurse from Skye has taken to social media to raise awareness of the illness.

A video that she has posted to Facebook last week has now been viewed more than 28,000 times.

In it, she explains that it is important that people who think they may be suffering from the condition are treated quickly.

She said that she was prescribed steroids to treat the condition, which could be effective within about six weeks.

She told BBC Scotland news online that she first displayed symptoms of Bell's palsy last Sunday, when she lost her sense of taste.

'Affects me in a huge way'

Mrs Ferguson said she also felt a pain in the back of her head but she put it down to a bad night's sleep.

"On Tuesday morning I looked in the mirror and noticed that the right side of my face was particularly drooped, I couldn't smile and my right eye wouldn't blink.

"That's when I thought I was having a stroke so I went to A&E".

The diagnosis came about 10 weeks after Mrs Ferguson gave birth to a baby boy, Xander.

Despite her medical background, she admitted that she knew little about the condition.

And when she shared her diagnosis with friends and family on social media, she realised Bell's palsy was not well understood.

It led her to conducting online research into the condition, and she posted her video highlighting the effects of the illness last week.

"It's not a life-threatening condition but it affects my life in a huge way," she said.

"The whole right side of my face is paralysed. I can't say certain words and I have to hold my cheek up because it's drooped so much.

"When I am drinking water it just dribbles out of the side of my mouth so I have to use a straw.

"I can't blink or close my eye so I have to tape my eye closed at night."

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