Polio: What Is It And How Is It Caused

Polio, which is also known as poliomyelitis, is a harsh virus that can damage the brainstem or spinal cord. The virus first spreads in the gut after entering the infected person’s body through the mouth, then moves through their bloodstream until it reaches the brain and spinal cord. Although it can infect adults as well, polio tends to usually affect children younger than the age of 5.

When you visit an area where there has recently been a polio outbreak, care for or live with someone who is infected with the disease, handle a laboratory specimen of the virus, experience extreme stress, or engage in intense exercise since exposure to the virus, your risk of getting polio increases if you are not having a strong immune system. The virus is highly contagious but sometimes not everyone who is exposed to the virus will become infected.

The person’s overall health and the condition of their immune system can affect the likelihood of contracting the disease. Also, poor hygiene and lack of sanitation facilities can also contribute to the spread of the virus and increase the risk of contracting polio.

Symptoms of Polio

Usually, the infected people do not show any visible signs of polio, which makes the disease harder to treat in time. However, people with the poliovirus can still infect others and transmit it even if they don’t show any symptoms.

Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. It can lead to muscle weakness, paralysis and even death. The virus is spread through contact with the feces of an infected person or through contaminated water or food.

Symptoms of polio can include:

● Fever
● Fatigue
● Headache
● muscle pain
● Stiffness
● sore throat
● Nausea
● Vomiting

Some people may also develop stiffness in the neck or back, and difficulty walking or limb weakness. However, it is vital to know that it is also possible for a person to be infected with the virus and have no symptoms at all.

Causes of Polio

Polio is caused by a virus. This virus enters the body through the mouth and then multiplies in the person’s gut, before spreading to the bloodstream and eventually reaching the spinal cord and brain. Once the virus reaches the nervous system, it can cause inflammation and damage to the nerve cells, leading to muscle weakness and paralysis.

The other causes of polio are when a person who already has polio spreads the virus to another person through person-to-person contact. The virus can also be spread through the droplets produced when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes.

Factors that can increase the risk of contracting polio include living in or traveling to areas where the disease is prevalent, having a weakened immune system, and not being vaccinated against the disease.

Treatment for Polio

To treat polio, there is a specific polio vaccine that can help prevent you from getting the virus. People who have not been vaccinated or have not completed the full course of vaccinations are at a higher risk of contracting the disease, as are those who have had close contact with infected individuals. A safe and effective vaccine is available that can protect against the disease.

Other than the vaccine, the other general advice that our pharmacists at Calgary Drug Mart provide during your medication review session to prevent yourself from getting the polio virus or worsening your condition if you have already got it are:

● Wash hands frequently.
● Cook food thoroughly and drink clean, safe water.
● Keep a safe distance from people who are infected with the virus.
● Avoid close contact with infected people.
● Practice good hygiene, such as covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
● If you are traveling to an area where polio is present, make sure you are fully vaccinated.
● Practice good sanitation and hygiene.
● Be aware of the symptoms of polio and seek medical attention if you suspect you or someone you know may have the disease.

Ensure your health is at its best and know how to prevent getting polio with the help of our pharmacists at Calgary Drug Mart to make sure you live life to the fullest. 

Visit our website for more information or give us a call to find out to book your medication review appointment with one of our pharmacists!