Polio, Poliomyelitis, Poliovirus, Post Polio Syndrome Causes Infantile Paralysis, Paralytic Symptoms

Polio is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. It commonly affects young children, spreading rapidly via oral secretions and contaminated food or water.

The polio virus can attack your nervous system, damaging or destroying motor neurons that are the messengers between your brain and muscles.

In a rare few, polio’s virus can cause permanent paralysis, or sometimes death. Thus, it is likewise referred to as poliomyelitis or infantile paralysis.

Polio is virtually eradicated in the U.S. due to a countrywide polio vaccine program. However, wild poliovirus continues to burden some developing populations with its paralytic disorder. Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan are recent outbreak regions.

Although primary polio vaccination series generally affords a lifetime of immunity, the CDC highly recommends a booster dose of inactivated poliovirus prior to a visit to the aforementioned high risk areas. Better polio safe, then paralysis sorry.

The majority of those infected with the polio virus will not experience symptoms. Yet, they can still spread the virus for several weeks. In fact, polio vaccinated folks can also be a carrier without knowledge.

The majority of those that do experience polio symptoms complain of:

These flu like symptoms tend to last for under a week.

Post recovery, a small number of these sufferers may develop viral meningitis, nonparalytic poliomyelitis or paralytic poliomyelitis. Non paralytic poliomyelitis symptoms might involve:

Symptoms usually last a couple of weeks, and future paralysis is not a health concern.

Paralytic poliomyelitis is the most severe form of polio. Unfortunately, heaped upon these other polio causing symptoms is paralysis. And the areas of your body that will be affected depends on where along your spinal cord or brainstem the motor neurons have been destroyed.

Some symptoms unique to paralytic form of poliomyelitis are:

Paralytic polio symptoms often comes on suddenly and are usually worse on one side of your body. Even though the paralysis is irreversible, you maintain your sense of feeling.

No cure nor treatment exist for polio, and nothing is available to reverse poliomyelitis causing paralysis. Comfort, recovery and complication prevention are the treatment goals while your myelitis causing infection runs its course.

Polio supportive treatment entails:

Post polio syndrome affects some who have previously recovered from acute polio decades ago. This syndrome is a very slow progressing condition and rarely life threatening.

Common signs and symptoms include:

Certain circumstances relating to your initial infection seem to increase your chances of struggling with post polio syndrome, such as:

  • age
  • severity
  • greater recovery
  • exhaustive physical activity

Presently, there is no way to prevent post-polio syndrome. And because its symptoms vary, there’s no one specific treatment. Goal of treatment is to manage symptoms and provide comfort.

Recommendations to be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle point to:

  • stay warm
  • balanced diet
  • stop smoking
  • protect your lungs
  • energy conservation
  • sleep apnea treatment
  • decrease caffeine intake
  • current flu & pneumonia vaccinations
  • aspirinNSAIDs ~ ease muscle & joint pain
  • exercise to maintain fitness, while avoiding overuse

A commonsense approach to exercise, using your individual tolerance as the limit, is the current recommendation.

Paralitic polio and post polio syndrome may cause some complications, leading to:

Obviously, those at the greatest risk for being infected with polio have not been immunized. Other situations that put you in peril of infantile paralysis are:

Get yourself vaccinated because it only takes one individual with polio to infect hundreds of others.