What is Polio (Poliomyelitis), How Is It Prevented, How Is It Treated?

Polio, one of the viral childhood diseases, can cause very dangerous consequences. You should read our article to avoid these dangers and to have more information on the subject.

What is polio?

Polio or poliomyelitis is a disease that affects children under the age of 5 and affects the central nervous system. This disease, in which a virus called polyvirus is effective, begins to spread rapidly to the nervous system shortly after it enters the body. After this spread, it stops some functions of the brain and spinal cord, causing permanent paralysis and sometimes death.

How is polio transmitted?

Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious disease and the only source of its spread is humans. Usually, even contact with a virus carrier is sufficient to contract the disease. The virus usually lives in the throat and intestines of the infected person. Therefore, it is mostly transmitted through the mouth and feces.

Poliovirus continues to live for long periods outside the human body through feces. So polio disease; It can become a serious epidemic in areas where city infrastructure, sewerage is poor, and health services are poor. All this creates a more serious risk, especially for young children.

In addition, the disease is more common in warm seasons and temperate climates.

The disease is currently only seen in countries such as Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Pakistan.

What are the ways to prevent polio?

The only sure way to prevent this disease is to get vaccinated. It was observed that the polio vaccine prevented the disease, which became a serious epidemic in 1999, by up to 90%. That’s why the polio vaccine is administered in childhood.

The polio vaccine is administered in 2 different ways. The first is called the oral polio vaccine (OPA) . This vaccine is given by giving oral drops. The purpose of this is to prevent the virus to settle in the throat and intestines.

“ How many drops of the polio vaccine are given? Let’s answer the question. It is given as 2 doses by mouth drops in the 6th and 18th months of the baby.

  1. The vaccine is administered by the arm injection method. In this application, which is also called inactive polio vaccine (IPA) ; It is given 4 times in the arm with a mixed vaccine for babies who have completed their 2nd, 4th, 6th and 18th months. It is also administered to primary school 1st grade children in a 4-combination vaccine. In other words, the polio vaccine made from the arm is given a total of 5 times the protection vaccine. Thus, the disease is largely prevented.

What are the side effects of the polio vaccine?

The polio vaccine in the arm has no known side effects. Only oral drops should not be administered to children with cancer treatment.

What are the symptoms of polio?

When the disease enters the body, it begins the incubation period in about 6-20 days. In this process, it does not show any symptoms or very mild discomfort is experienced. In some children;

  • Fire,
  • Weakness,
  • Vomiting,
  • Headache and sore throat
  • Symptoms such as pain in the arms and legs are seen. However, these also disappear in a short time.

After these symptoms disappear, the child may fully recover, and no problems with poliomyelitis may be encountered. However, there is always a risk of paralysis in the arms and legs.

How is polio treated?

If the disease has resolved on its own without causing paralysis, no treatment is needed. However, if it has caused paralysis in the arms or legs (polio sequelae), there is no cure. The paralysis in the child is permanent and prevents walking. Therefore, his life should be shaped according to this situation.

Physical therapy is one of the methods that can enable the child to adapt to life better. In addition, some surgical orthopedic procedures can be performed if necessary.

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