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Polio is an infectious viral disease that can damage the nervous system and cause paralysis. The polio virus enters the body through the mouth, usually from hands contaminated with the stool of an infected person. People with polio often lose the ability to move their legs and/or arms.The disease most commonly affects young children. Poliovirus spreads in human waste. People usually get it from contaminated food or water. Polio is most common in infants and young children, but complications occur most often in older persons.
Polio is also know as: Infantile paralysis, Poliomyelitis, PPS
Abortive Polio: It does not include neurological symptoms but mainly gastrointestinal upset and sore throat. Polio virus can be isolated from throat washings and stool.
Non-paralytic Polio: Symptoms include neurological symptoms: Headache, stiff neck, muscle stiffness and spasms along with other muscular symptoms. Muscle strength testing at this time and after fever breaks does not show weakness, however, there is probably undetectable permanent nerve damage to some extent.
Paralytic Polio: All of the above symptoms but in addition residual weakness and lingering paralysis of some muscles.
Causes of Polio
The polio virus lives in the throat and intestinal tract of infected persons. The virus enters the body through the mouth, usually from hands contaminated with the stool of an infected person. Objects, such as eating utensils, can also spread the virus. Food and water are not thought to play a major role in the spread of polio.
There are 3 types of polio virus
Signs & Symptoms of Polio
Symptoms usually start 7 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Many people infected with the virus have few or no symptoms. Others have short-term symptoms, such as headache, tiredness, fever, stiff neck and back, and muscle pain. Infected persons are most contagious from a few days before to a few days after the start of symptoms. The survivors of poliomyelitis may experience symptoms that include:
Diagnosis of Polio
Doctors often recognize polio by symptoms such as neck and back stiffness, abnormal reflexes, and difficulty swallowing and breathing.
To confirm the diagnosis
A sample of throat secretions, stool or cerebrospinal fluid - a colorless fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord - is checked for the presence of poliovirus.
by performing a blood test
The spinal fluid can also be tested for the presence of polio antibodies. Antibodies are chemicals produced by the immune system to fight against specific foreign invaders, such as the poliovirus.
Preventions of Polio
Polio can now be prevented by immunizations. An immunization is an injection that protects a person against some type of infectious disease.
Two types of polio vaccine are available: oral polio vaccine (OPV) and inactivated polio vaccine (IPV).
Treatments of Polio
There is no treatment for polio. A polio patient must receive expert medical care, especially at the beginning of the illness.
Myths of Polio
Myth: Some medications are bad for polio survivors and should be avoided at all costs.
Many polio survivors have read that some medication classes are bad for them, but it is better to ask your doctor about medication etc.
Myth: Polio survivors should take more rest
This is another myth that has some truth to it, but taken to an extreme is dangerous. If you are at complete bed rest, your muscles will lose 10-15% of their strength per week. Muscles need to be contracted regularly in order for them to maintain their size and strength. The Polio survivors should balance their daily activities with rest and exercise.
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