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Polio Symptoms and Treatment

Updated on November 28, 2009

Polio is a frightening disease that can be totally prevented but cannot be cured. Once you catch this virus, doctors can do very little to prevent permanent paralysis, maimed and withered limbs, and possible death. The public still consider poliomyelitis to be a disease of the past, but this is not so. Polio is endemic in many third-world countries, and a drop in community vaccination rates could result in several hundred children in developed countries showing the frightening symptoms of polio.

You cannot even claim fear of injections as a reason for avoiding the vaccination. Thanks to a New York bacteriologist, Albert Sabin, we have a vaccine named after him that can be taken as two drops by mouth. Polio is therefore a potentially fatal disease that can be prevented by a simple oral vaccination that is given on four occasions before 18 months of age. The vaccine is extremely effective, safe, and has no side effects. Yet, polio still exists. Why? The only possible answer is laziness and ignorance, and after reading this, you can no longer plead ignorance, only laziness.

Talk to people who were parents of young children in 1956. That was the last year before the original Salk injectable vaccine became available, and it was the year of the last polio epidemic. Those parents were scared, so scared for their children, that when the vaccine became available, there were queues down the street from the clinic front doors that rivaled the scene before a sell out Taylor Swift concert. They wanted their children protected, and as soon as possible. Today, the vaccine is available from most general practitioners - no fuss, no pain and no queues.

Children are not the only people at risk, adults too may catch polio. Many older members of the community have never had any form of polio vaccine, and those who had the Salk vaccine in childhood may no longer be protected. Although excellent in its time, the Salk vaccine may not give lifelong protection. As a result, all adults who have not had four oral Sabin vaccines, should have a full course of these as well.

Polio is due to a virus, one of those incredibly small particles of matter that cause disease as diverse as measles and hepatitis, the common cold and shingles. Antibiotics have no effect upon them, and there is no cure. The polio virus causes muscle spasm and paralysis, and if the muscles of breathing or the heart are affected, the patient may die or remain on a respirator for life. The virus passes from one person to another through droplets in the breath or by touch.

Please ensure that you and your children are adequately protected against this still dangerous disease.

Please Note:

  • The information provided on this page is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a registered physician or other healthcare professional.

  • The content of this page is intended only to provide a summary and general overview. Do not use this information to disregard medical advice, nor to delay seeking medical advice.

  • Be sure to consult with your doctor for a professional diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment.


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    • Health-n-Fitness profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Very interesting. Thanks for that Leslie.

    • lesliedrawdy profile image


      8 years ago

      The oral vaccine is no longer used in the U.S. because the few cases of Polio linked to vaccination as the cause have been traced to the oral Sabin vaccine. This however has remained the primary means of vaccination worldwide for polio irradication due to cost effectiveness and ease of administration. However, recent increases in a mutated form of polio in Africa have been traced to the use of the Sabin vaccine. The Sabin (oral) vaccine uses "weakened" strain of the live poliovirus, whereas the Salk (injectable) vaccine uses dead poliovirus.


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