Mankind has been fighting the effects of the poliovirus for quite some time. A life-threatening disease that can render people unable to walk was once one of the most feared diseases in the world.
According to the best child doctors in Karachi, children who are 5 years of age or who are younger than 5 are highly prone to this disease.
1. What is Polio?
Also known as poliomyelitis, polio is a disease that is highly contagious. It is a virus that attacks the nervous system of the affected person. There is a need for people to stop underestimating this disease. According to the data of WHO, every 1 infection out of 200 results in permanent paralysis.
A virus that mostly targets those people who do not have any inoculations in their systems. When it is in its peak form, it affects your spinal cord and brain and this can lead to the onset of paralysis.
Another thing to note here is that polio affects the masses regardless of their age. But, yes, it is most common in children who are under the age group of 5.
2. Causes of Polio
Polio will only infect the person who comes in direct contact with the virus. This contact can be of two types
- Person to person contact
- Comes in contact with the affected object that has the virus on it
- Comes in contact with the feces of the infected person.
- Comes in contact with the contaminated water
- If you breathe in the same space in which the person who has polio has previously breathed (less common way).
3. Most Common Symptoms of Polio
It is important to note here that most of the time people are not aware of the fact that polio can infect a person and the person will fail to exhibit any sign or symptom. But sometimes a very few fractions of people will show signs which are highly similar to flu such as,
- Sore throat
- Tiredness and fatigue
- No appetite
- A rise in body temperature
- Back pain and stiffness in the neck
- Muscle weakness
4. Paralytic polio
Polio in which the virus can lead to paralysis in the spinal cord which can and which will affect the person’s ability to walk. Paralysis can also affect the brain stem.
The initial symptoms of paralytic polio are rather on the same side as non-paralytic polio. But with the passage of time, the seriousness of the situation arises. The symptoms of such situations are
- Reflex loss
- Episodic muscle pain
- Floppy limbs
- Sudden paralysis can transfer into permanent or temporary paralysis.
- Deformation of limbs in the hips, ankles, or feet area.
A point that is noteworthy here is that a case where full paralysis happens is highly rare. When we are looking at the stats out of a hundred cases less than 1% results in permanent paralysis.
Most of the time, what happens is that you are unable to breathe because it affects those muscular areas which help you to breathe properly.
5. Non-Paralytic Polio
The symptoms of this situation last from one to 10 days. Most of the time these symptoms are flu-like. From fever to sore throat and meningitis, the symptoms of non-paralytic polio are mild.
Another common name for non-paralytic polio is abortive polio.
6. Post-Polio Syndrome
This often goes under the radar but sometimes polio can return even after you have recovered. The time span of this is after 15-40 years. Some of the most common symptoms of this condition are
- Continuous muscle and joint weakness
- Pain in muscles that can get seriously worse
- You are tired all the time
- Muscle atrophy
- Difficult in breathing
- Sleep apnea
- Breathing problems that are associated with sleep
- Low to zero tolerance of cold temperatures
- Weakness in the areas which were previously undisturbed
- Low memory
- The trouble with concentrating on a specific pattern
The Bottom Line
Polio is a disease that is not often talked about. People are mostly unresponsive or mildly interested in this disease. But they should not. It is a very serious medical condition that can result in lifelong impairment.
That is why make sure that your child is happy and healthy and properly vaccinated.