Know the basics
What is poliomyelitis?
Poliomyelitis (also called polio) is an infectious disease caused by polio virus. The virus attacks the central nervous system, causing pain or destroying motor neurons, thereby leading to muscle paralysis (that is inability to move a limb or other body parts). In severe cases, the disease often affects the feet, even if the worst case happens, the disease can affect the ability to breathe and swallow. Today, thanks to the highly effective vaccines, infectious diseases are rare but it still occurs in developing countries.
Most infection symptoms last only a few days or weeks. But polio often causes severe symptoms and usually lasts from 2 to 6 months. After that period, patients will be well again.
How common is poliomyelitis?
This health condition is common. It commonly affects pregnant women, very young children not fully immunized polio and those who have weakened immune system.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of poliomyelitis?
There are 3 different types of infection: the atypical, paralysis and not paralyzed. Polio could be a milder type, not related to central nervous system, but it also can be a very serious form of the disease, as paralyzed. Most of infected patients may not develop symptoms.
The most common symptoms of mild form polio are flu-like symptoms, or as viral infections include: headache, fever, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and constipation or diarrhea.
The most common symptoms may not be listed as headache, stiff neck, and change mental function.
The most common symptoms are fever and headache, stiff neck and back, constipation and sensitive. Patients will lose sensation and movement in lower part of the body. Then the patient will recover gradually over 2 to 6 months.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
Know the causes
What causes poliomyelitis?
Polio virus causes the disease. It is a contagious disease and it can be spread through contact with water and food which are infected feces of infected person. This condition often occurs in areas with poor drainage system. The disease can also spread by direct contact with virus carriers or who has recently taken oral polio vaccine (vaccine is made from live virus).
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for poliomyelitis?
There are many risk factors for Poliomyelitis, such as:
- You travel to areas with polio virus or polio epidemic;
- You are living with a person carrying polio virus;
- You have immunodeficiency diseases such as HIV / AIDS;
- Have previously experienced tonsillectomy;
- You are stress or have severe intensity activity for long periods and then exposed to polio virus, because two things can lower your resistance.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is poliomyelitis diagnosed?
Your doctor will diagnose whether you suffer from paralysis or stiff neck and back symptoms, difficulty swallowing and breathing, and abnormal reflexes. Doctor will take a sample from the spinal cord by lumbar puncture and examine the fluid to find signs of infection. Your doctor may take a stool sample, fluids from throat, and blood to test virus.
How is poliomyelitis treated?
No medicine can cure polio. Ibuprofen or similar medication can help control pain. Physical therapy with nutritious diet can help improve health and stamina. Your doctor will suggest you use other methods to help you feel more comfortable in infectious stage.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage poliomyelitis?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Polio:
- Regular take physiotherapy in order to not let muscles shrink.
- Call your doctor if you think you have been exposed to disease or polio.
- Call your doctor if you are diagnosed with polio and the symptoms become more severe.
- Make sure you have been vaccinated to prevent paralysis with polio vaccine before traveling in areas of the disease.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Download version.
Porter, R. S., Kaplan, J. L., Homeier, B. P., & Albert, R. K. (2009). The Merck manual home health handbook. Whitehouse Station, NJ, Merck Research Laboratories. Print edition. Page 1779.