What is Poliomyelitis?
Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. It is an infectious viral disease that affects the central nervous system and can cause temporary or permanent paralysis, most especially in the leg. Children younger than 5 years old are more likely to contract the virus than any other group.
Types of Poliomyelitis
Nonparalytic polio/Symptomatic Polio
Classification of Poliomyelitis
Asymptomatic polio: Is most common type of polio and its display no symptom.
Symptomatic polio: Is also known as nonparalytic or abortive polio and the severe form called Paralytic Polio.
Can be classified into three namely:
- Bulbospinal polio - Both spinal and bulbar polio
- Bulbar polio - Affects neurons responsible for sight, vision, taste, swallowing, and breathing
- Spinal polio - Attacks motor neurons in the spinal cord and causes paralysis in arms and legs and breathing problems
Symptoms/Signs of Nonparalytic Poliomyelitis
- Arm and leg pain or stiffness
- Abnormal reflexes
- Back and neck pain and stiffness,
- Muscle tenderness and spasms
- Problems swallowing and/or breathing
- Sore throat in the absence of upper respiratory infection
Symptoms/Signs of Paralytic Poliomyelitis
- Deformed limbs (especially the hips, ankles, and feet due to prolonged weakenss and the
- Loss of reflexes
- Loose and floppy limbs, sometimes on just one side of the body, this is due to the weakness which results from the involvement of the spine
- Lack of appropriate orthopedic bracing
- Severe spasms and muscle pain
- Sudden paralysis (temporary or permanent)
- Becoming easily cold
- Becoming easily exhausted or fatigued
- Difficulty in breathing
- Joint and Muscle pain that gets worse
- Muscle wasting, also called muscle atrophy
- Sleep related breathing problems (sleep apnea)
- Trouble swallowing
Polio is caused by the poliovirus, a highly contagious virus specific to humans. The virus usually enters the environment in the feces of someone who is infected. In areas with poor sanitation, the virus easily spreads through the fecal-oral route, via contaminated water or food. In addition, direct contact with a person infected with the virus can cause polio. The infection with poliovirus and direct contact with persons increase the risk of Post Polio Syndrome in many children or even adults.
How to diagnose Poliomyelitis
Doctors often recognize polio by symptoms, such as neck and back stiffness, abnormal reflexes, and difficulty swallowing and breathing. To confirm the diagnosis, a sample or specimen’s secretion from the throat, and feces (stool), and occasionally cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) would be taken for culture.
CDC laboratories conduct testing for poliovirus including:
- Genome sequencing
- Intratypic differentiation
The most effective way to prevent polio infection is to be vaccinated. The polio vaccine is over 90% effective in providing immunity to the polio virus. Organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and Rotary International are involved in massive vaccination campaigns to eliminate the polio virus worldwide. Most children in developed countries are routinely vaccinated.
Treatment for Poliomyelitis
No drug can kill the virus once an infection has begun, but it can be prevented with vaccine. Treatment is directed at controlling the symptoms of the disease. People with minor poliomyelitis are treated with bed rest and over-the-counter medicines to control fever and muscle aches.
People with major poliomyelitis may require additional treatments, including:
- Physical therapy – Therapy helps to minimize damage to paralyzed muscles and to help people regain mobility as the acute illness resolves. Treatment for paralysis depends on which muscles are affected.
- Measures to prevent urinary tract infections – If the bladder muscles do not contract normally, the bladder may not empty completely. This can lead to urinary infections. Using catheters to empty the bladder may be necessary, and long-term use of antibiotics is recommended in some cases.
- Mechanical breathing support – When polio weakens the chest muscles so much that they cannot move the lungs (cannot breathe), people can be kept alive by placing a tube into their windpipe (the trachea). This tube is placed through an opening in the neck, called a tracheotomy. Breathing is performed by a machine called a ventilator that moves air in and out of the lungs. A catheter attached to a suction motor can remove excessive mucus through the tracheostomy tube. People who need artificial respiration long-term must live in a facility that is staffed by nurses and therapists who are skilled in respiratory care.
There is no specific home remedy for poliomyelitis but there are home remedies for the symptoms of polio. Here is a list of home remedies that you could use for polio.
Ginger: Ginger contains a lot healing properties and is also considered to be one of the best remedies to cure polio.
Black pepper: Black pepper is not only a tasty spice but is also a great cure for polio. Hence, you can add pepper in your diet and make sure to make it a regular routine.
Coriander Seeds: Coriander is a great spice that adds taste to different types of foods. But did you know that it is a great home remedy for polio too? Well, it is; thus spice up your meals with the addition of coriander in your dish and also protect yourself and your family from polio.
Licorice: is another home remedy that is a sweet spice but it not only adds taste to the food but also slows down the process of polio.
Fennel seed: Fennel is considered to one of the world’s healthiest foods. It is slightly sweet and crunchy, adding refreshing contribution to the deliciously popular Mediterranean cuisine. Besides adding taste to foods, it also helps in reducing the risk of polio.
Triphala: is an ayurvedic remedy that helps to cure a lot health related issues such as constipation, digestion, purification of blood and it also aids in treating polio – a deadly disease that has been haunting human kind for centuries now.
Pindasvedka or navarakizhi: is a form of medicated rice which can be cooked in the house and consumed. It helps in treating myriad diseases including polio. Since it helps in bringing back the lost strength in muscles and also works as an anti-aging substance, it is often considered a remedy for paralysis; thus it is used on polio sufferers. The rice provides carbohydrates that rejuvenate the affected areas when applied.
The intensive ayurvedic massages: alleviates the on-going pain and any kind of paralysis if it had occurred. It not only repair dead and wasted muscles but also allows the affected area to receive nutrients that can expel toxins.
Herbal remedies: can eradicate the internal disorder and improve the immune system thus helping in curing polio.
The best way to prevent polio is to take the vaccinations on time before the resulted to polio.
Complications of Poliomyelitis
Paralytic polio can lead to temporary or permanent muscle paralysis, disability, and deformities of the hips, ankles and feet. Although many deformities can be corrected with surgery and physical therapy, these treatments may not be options in developing nations where polio is still common. As a result, children who survive polio may spend their lives with severe disabilities.