Polio is a highly infectious viral disease, which affects children and invades the nervous system, especially the nerves of the lower limbs. The virus causes complete or partial paralysis, and may lead to death in some cases.
The main cause for polio is poliovirus. It is transmitted through the mouth or nose, and reproduces inside the intestines.
Polio is transmitted through:
Direct contact with a polio-infected person
Mucus and phlegm from the mouth and nose, in addition to the stool contaminated with the virus.
Water and food contaminated with the virus.
1)- Non-Paralytic Polio (flaccid paralysis):
It is a type of polio that doesn’t cause paralysis of limbs, but usually causes symptoms similar to those of flu, including:
· Sore throat
· Back pain or stiffness
· Neck pain or stiffness
· Arm and leg pain or stiffness
· Muscle tenderness
2)- Paralytic Polio:
It is the type of polio which leads to paralysis in the limbs or spine, according to the body part affected with the virus; the spine (spinal polio), the brainstem (bulbar polio), and both of the spine and brainstem (bulbospinal polio).
· Loss of limb reflexes.
· Severe muscle pain or weakness
· Loose and floppy limbs.
3)- Post-Polio Syndrome:
Post-Polio Syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms that affect some people for several years (an average of 35 years), including:
· Muscle and joint weakness and pain
· General fatigue and exhaustion.
· Muscle atrophy.
· Breathing or swallowing problems.
· Sleep-related breathing problems, such as sleep apnea.
· Low body temperature (Hypothermia).
· Cognitive problems, such as difficulty in concentration and memory.
Who is at risk?
· Children not vaccinated against polio.
· HIV patients.
· Unvaccinated travelers to polio-infected areas.
There is no cure for polio, but it is recommended to embrace the following health tips:
· Taking rest.
· Taking painkillers to relieve symptoms.
· Maintaining physiotherapy to avoid muscle immobilization
· Maintaining healthy nutrition
Children should be vaccinated against polio regularly, according to the vaccination schedule. This would protect them for a lifetime, Allah willing.