Polio Symptoms, Causes & Treatment


Polio is a serious disease, from which many countries are still suffering today. According to the World Health Organization, 99 percent of polio has been eradicated, but it still affects many poor countries. Talking about India, UNICEF declared India a polio-free country in 2011 itself. Nevertheless, polio vaccines are administered every year at a fixed time to keep the country polio-free. This is a serious disease, so it is important to be fully aware of it. This is the reason why in this article of Myhealthonly we are going to give important information related to polio. Here you will find information related to polio, types of polio, and ways to avoid polio. Along with this, the polio vaccine and how polio can be treated will also be highlighted.

Before knowing all this information, know in detail what is polio.

What Is Polio?

Polio or poliomyelitis is a disease that can damage the nervous system and cause paralysis. The polio virus can pass from one infected person to another and infect the spinal cord, causing paralysis (immobility involving the whole body or certain parts of the body). The threat of polio has reduced after the well-implementation of the polio vaccine, but it is still a deadly disease. For this reason, it is very important to take care of the treatment and prevention of polio.

After knowing what is polio, know further the types of polio.

Types Of Polio

Talking about the type of polio, it can be of two types:

  1. Paralytic Polio: In this, the polio virus spreads through certain nerve fibers and motor neurons (cells that control essential muscle movements) present in the part of the brain (brain stem and motor cortex) along with the spinal cord. Such as damage to speech, walking, breathing, and swallowing. This damage forms paralytic poliomyelitis. The types of paralytic polio can be divided into three parts depending on the damage caused to the neurons:
  • Spinal Polio: In this type, the polio virus affects the motor neurons present in the spinal cord. This virus can weaken the muscles in the affected area and paralyze them.
  • Bulbar Polio: In this type, the poliovirus affects the bulbar part of the brain (connecting the brainstem and cerebellum). The virus damages the nerves in the bulbar region, which can make breathing, speaking, and swallowing difficult.
  • Bulbospinal polio: In about 19 percent of cases of paralytic polio, the patient suffers from bulbospinal polio. In this type, both the spinal cord and the bulbar are affected by the polio virus. During this, the person has trouble breathing without a ventilator. Along with this, his arms and legs may become paralyzed and the functioning of the heart may be affected.
  1. Pathophysiology: In this type of polio, the polio virus enters the body through the mouth. As soon as it enters the body, it first infects the cells of the pharynx – a part of the throat) and the intestinal mucosa. This virus can further affect the central nervous system and cause inflammation in the body.

After describing the types of polio, let us tell you what can be the causes of polio.

Causes Of Polio

Poliovirus is the main cause of polio. There can be many reasons for its spread, which can be included in the cause of polio, such as:

  • Direct contact with an infected person
  • Contact with infected mucus from the nose and mouth
  • Contact with infected feces

In the next part of the article, we will tell you what are the symptoms of polio.

Symptoms Of Polio

People infected with polio usually do not show any symptoms, but in some cases, the symptoms of polio look like the flu. These symptoms last for some two to five days and then disappear, such as:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain

Apart from these, in some cases, the symptoms of polio become severe and affect the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). In these cases, the person goes through some serious symptoms, such as:

  • Paresthesia – Feeling like a prick in the feet
  • Symptoms of Meningitis – Infection involving the brain and spine
  • Paralysis

Like every physical problem, there are some risk factors for polio, which can increase the risk of getting it. About them are told in the next part of the article.

Risk Factors of Polio

Apart from the cause of polio, there are also some risk factors, which can become the reason for the occurrence of this disease, such as:

  • Not getting polio vaccine.
  • Visiting a place infected with polio
  • Children and infants living in an unclean environment

Keep reading this article to know about the information related to the treatment of polio.

Polio Treatment

At the beginning of this section, let us tell you that no medical treatment can cure polio. The following treatments can only help reduce the symptoms of polio:

  • Antibiotics: To reduce the symptoms of urinary tract infection (urinary tract infection).
  • Heating pad: To ease muscle aches and cramps.
  • Painkillers: To reduce headaches, muscle aches, and cramps.
  • Physical therapy: To improve muscle strength and function. During this, orthopedic surgery can also be done in some severe cases.

After telling the treatment of polio, in the next part of the article we are going to tell you about the ways to avoid polio.

Ways To Prevent Polio

Like any other disease, adopting measures to prevent polio is better than getting treated for polio.

These preventive measures are the polio vaccine, which is described below:

  • Oral Polio Vaccine: This vaccine is given by mouth to protect against polio. It also has some negative effects. Actually, due to the presence of live viruses in the vaccine, a person taking it can infect another. In rare cases, this oral vaccine can also cause polio by becoming a ‘vaccine-derived polio virus. This is the reason why America has banned this vaccine, yet it is being adopted in many countries.
  • Inactivated poliovirus vaccine: This vaccine is given by injection into a person’s arm or leg. This polio vaccine protects a person from all three types of polio. It does not contain live viruses, so this polio vaccine does not cause infection in other people.

In the case of polio, it is quite true that prevention is better than cure. Due to the non-availability of treatment for polio, it is necessary to get the polio vaccine at the right time to prevent it. Polio may have been completely eradicated in India, but to keep it polio-free, one must get the polio vaccine. We hope that this article was useful to you. If you still have any questions related to polio due to polio, then you must reach us by writing in the comment box below.