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Symptoms of Polio and How Does It Infect Others

Polio is also called poliomyelitis which is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. This disease can take several different forms:

  • Paralytic polio – this type includes weakness that develops quickly and turns into paralysis. 
  • Cases with mild symptoms – people with this type of polio may have a mild illness with symptoms similar to those of the flu. But, the illness does not appear to affect the brain. People affected with this usually recover within a week. 
  • Inapparent polio – most cases have this type of polio. When people have this form, they don’t have symptoms but they can still pass the virus on to other people. 

How Does Polio Infect Someone?

Polio is transmitted by direct contact with infected feces. Viruses can also be transmitted by objects like toys that have been in contact with infected feces. The virus lives in the throat and intestines, so it can be spread by sneezing or coughing. This is a rare occurrence.

People living in areas with limited access to running water or flush toilets often contract polio from drinking water contaminated by infected human waste. In addition, people with a weakened immune system, pregnant women, and young children are the most susceptible to polio

If you have not been vaccinated, you can increase your risk of contracting polio when you:

  • Have extreme stress or strenuous activity after exposure to the virus
  • Have your tonsils removed
  • Take care of or live with someone infected with polio
  • Travel to an area that has had a recent polio outbreak 
  • Handle a laboratory specimen of the virus 
Symptoms of polio

What Are The Symptoms Of Polio?

Polio causes a variety of symptoms. Depending on the severity of the case, the symptoms may include:

How to Diagnose Polio?

Polio is often diagnosed by its symptoms, such as neck and back stiffness, abnormal reflexes, and difficulty swallowing and breathing. Samples of your throat secretions, stool, and cerebral spinal fluid (a colorless liquid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord) are tested for poliovirus to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment and Medication for Polio 

Doctors can only treat polio symptoms while the infection runs its course. Since there’s no cure, the best way to treat polio is to prevent it with vaccinations. 

Treatment and Medication for Polio 

The most common supportive treatments include:

Medications usually used for polio:

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