January 12, 2010

Polio: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Posted in Category : Child Health

Polio, which is short for the medical term Poliomyelitis, is a viral infection that can easily spread from one individual to another – more often through the fecal – oral route than any other. The virus will tend to invade the nervous system and cause total paralysis in no more than a couple of hours. While the condition can affect people of all ages, about 50% of all infections happen to children. When the virus enters the body through the mouth, it then proceeds to multiply in the intestine prompting a number of symptoms such as fever, fatigue, vomiting and pain in the limbs and joints. About 10% of all affected individuals die as a result of the paralysis of the breathing muscles, while almost one in every two hundred victims will suffer permanent paralysis of the legs. In about 1% of the cases, the virus will enter the central nervous system and cause the destruction of motor neurons which then causes a weakening of the muscles and acute flaccid paralysis. While the vaccination against this very severe disease has been well established and effective ever since it’s licensing in 1962, the condition is still comparatively widespread in developing nations where the vaccination may be out of the price range for low income people. However, there are a number of non profit organizations that work strenuously to provide as many people as possible with the vaccination to reach the goal of completely eradicating the condition.

Symptoms of Post Polio Syndrome

One of the major concerns after being effectively treated for polio is the risk of suffering from Post polio syndrome which is known to affect people that have suffered from the condition about 15 to 40 years after the original illness. Symptoms of this condition include severe fatigue, progressive muscle weakness and breathing and swallowing difficulties. The primary cause of PPS is believed to be a gradual loss of individual nerve cells that come in contact with the muscle fibers as well as the subsequent loss of nerve transmission to these fibers.

How To Prevent Polio?

While the condition can be prevented by administering the vaccine to a child between the age s of six weeks and 18 years old, a significant amount of exercise will help make the muscles stronger and provide them with better protection against the virus. Always make sure that the water you drink is not contaminated to prevent being infected by not only polio, but a number of other viruses as well.