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Vaccinate to eliminate: let’s fight against polio



Polio is an extremely contagious, disabling and life-threatening disease that’s caused by a virus named poliovirus. The virus affects mostly children under the age of 5, and its severity can leave a person with complete paralysis. However, global initiatives and campaigns focused towards vaccination, just two countries are currently endemic of polio transmission.

How does one get infected with the poliovirus?

Polio, as a highly contagious disease, gets transmitted from person to person with infected faeces, and can even be transmitted a sneeze or a cough or even staying near a person who has contracted the virus.

What are the symptoms of polio?

Polio can cause paralysis and death, but the majority of people affected do not get sick and aren’t aware that they are infected.

Non-paralytic polio:

Can last up to 10 days and the symptoms could be flu-like.

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Vomiting

  • Sore throat

  • Pain or stiffness in arms/legs


Paralytic polio:

This is the most serious form and rare. The initial sign could be fever and headache, which mimic non-paralytic polio. But within a few weeks, other signs would show up like

  • Muscle pain and severe spasm

  • Loss of reflexes

  • Loose and floppy limbs

  • Deformed limbs


How is Polio diagnosed?

Polio doesn’t have a cure, hence vaccination is of utmost importance. Treatment is done against the symptoms and not the disease itself.

Few of the widely practised supportive treatments are:

  • Painkillers

  • Antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections

  • Muscle relaxants

  • Portable ventilators to ease breathing

  • Physical therapy and braces to assist walking, ease muscle pain, help with breathing problems

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation to keep lungs healthy


Can Polio return after recovery?

It is possible for polio to return 15 to 40 years after recovery. This is known as post-polio syndrome (PPS). Common symptoms of PPS are:

  • Continuous or worsening muscle or joint pain

  • Fatigue and exhaustion

  • Problems in sleeping, breathing and swallowing

  • Problems with memory and concentration

  • Depression

  • Inability to cope with low temperatures


What if I have not been vaccinated?

If you have not been vaccinated, you have an increased risk of contracting polio if

  • You are in or travelling to a polio infected region

  • You are taking care of someone who has been infected with it

  • Work in a laboratory that handles specimen


Prevention

One of the most effective ways to prevent polio is vaccination. In India, most of the infants receive the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) at birth called the zero dose and 3 doses are given at 6, 10 and 14 weeks. After this, a booster dose is given at their 16-24 months of age.

Route and site – Given orally in the form of drops.

World Polio Day 2020

24th October is observed as World Polio Day every year that brings health experts and partners on a collective mission of eradicating polio. It’s important that we as individuals get informed about the disease and make it a topic of discussion and highlight the significance of vaccination amongst our community.

Disclaimer: Indian Health Bureau does not claim any responsibility for the information contained in this article. The information may not hold good for everyone. The post is for general awareness only and should not be construed as a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Please consult your doctor to know what is good for you.

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