The less severe types of polio do not cause complications as people who suffer from these conditions fully recover. On the other hand, paralytic polio can cause lifetime damage and complications to someone who has it.
Paralytic polio complications include:
- Temporary or permanent muscle paralysis
- Pulmonary edema (increased blood pressure in the lungs’ blood vessels)
- Aspiration pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs)
- Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
- In some cases, death
Post-polio syndrome (PPS)
This is a condition that attacks a polio survivor’s muscles and nerves. The symptoms of PPS manifest after 10 to 40-year recovery of someone who is severely affected by the initial poliovirus infection.
Post-polio syndrome symptoms include:
- Progressive pain and weakness of muscles and joints
- Tiredness or exhaustion even when doing light physical activities
- Muscle atrophy
- Swallowing and breathing problems
- Intolerance to cold
- Sleeping disorders like sleep apnea and periodic limb movements (PLM)
The best way to prevent poliovirus infection is by getting the poliovirus vaccine. In the Philippines, the polio immunization vaccine is given free to children under the age of 5, during the mass immunization campaign in the country.
The oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) in the Philippines, must be administered to children at ages 1 ½, 2 ½, 3 ½ months, and inactive polio vaccine (IPV) are given at 3 ½ months.
Aside from the vaccine, there are other prevention tips on how to limit the spread of the poliovirus, like:
- Practicing good hygiene such as proper handwashing
- Proper use of toilet
- Drinking clean and potable water
- Thoroughly cooking raw food items
Polio is a debilitating disease that is common in young children. Detecting polio based on symptoms is difficult since most of the people who have the disease are asymptomatic.
To prevent polio and its complications, it is advisable that parents or adults, in general, have their children vaccinated with OPV and IPV to protect them against poliovirus.
It is also important to observe proper hygiene since the poliovirus is transmissible through feces and other bodily secretions of an infected individual.
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