Polio is a debilitating condition and the best way to deal with this virus is to try to prevent it in the first place. Good thing is it’s true that polio is not the scariest of diseases across the globe today. But before letting our guards down we must also know that there’s been a lot of effort from a lot of corners – namely, NGOs, WHO, UN agencies, local government and population at large – to turn polio into a under-control disease that it is today.
Before discussing how to get rid of polio, it is important to discuss the causes and the symptoms first. This disease is caused by the virus known simply as the poliovirus. This is a tiny RNA virus and it can be spread from one person to the other via contact with what is known as the oral mucosa; examples include the nose and the mouth. This virus is known to mostly attach itself to as well as infect the intestinal cells. It then multiplies and is eventually excreted in the feces of someone who is affected. Basically, the disease is spread in a manner that is oral-fecal. Therefore, it is spread from one individual to the next via contact with infected feces and mucus.
Signs and Symptoms
People who have polio often have different signs and symptoms. This is due to the fact that these symptoms are determined by the degree of the infection. There are basically two categories of symptoms associated with polio; paralytic and non-paralytic. If someone is affected by non-paralytic polio, he will either stay asymptomatic or he might simply experience mild flu-like indications which include fever, fatigue, vomiting and malaise. Most people are affected by this type of polio. These symptoms usually last between 48 and 72 hours. However, in some instances they might last for up to 2 weeks.
Paralytic polio is the more serious of the two. It usually affects about 2% of individuals who have the virus. The signs and symptoms come about due to spinal cord and nervous system infections as well as inflammation. Some of the symptoms include breathing difficulties, abnormal sensation, headache, paralysis, mood swings, constipation and muscle pain just to mention a few.
How to get rid of polio
First and foremost, it is important to note that there is no actual cure for polio. As such, the most important thing to do is to prevent it in the first place. However, those who are suffering from non-paralytic polio must be watched or observed for progression to the more serious type which is paralytic polio. Those who have paralytic polio must be watched for indicators of respiratory failure; these might require therapies of a lifesaving nature. As for those symptoms which are less severe, there are some treatments available. For instance, there are drugs which can treat urinary infections. But, when it comes to treating symptoms associated with paralytic polio, the measures are only supportive.
As mentioned above, this disease has no cure. What that means is that the only way to get rid of polio is to prevent it. Fortunately, there is a way that polio can be prevented; this is through the polio vaccine. The first vaccine was developed in 1955; it was known as the injectable inactivated polio vaccine. Of course, the vaccine has been developed over the years. This vaccine must be administered to children.
In countries such as the United States, this vaccine is administered as what is referred to as an inactivated polio vaccine. This type of vaccine does not have any live poliovirus. It is highly effective as it produces immunity to the polio virus and it also protects individuals from paralytic polio.
The effect of polio in developing countries
The fact of the matter is that there are less reports of polio in developed countries. This is due to many reasons, some of which include; awareness, availability of funds to make and distribute the drugs and higher standards of living. The situation is very different in developing countries. For instance, in Africa, there are certain communities or villages whose inhabitants have no knowledge of this virus. In some areas, although they might be aware of the virus, they have no access to the vaccine.
As such, one of the best ways to get rid of this disease is to reach out to those less developed countries which do not have access to the vaccine. In other words, if a reduction in the spread of the virus is to be seen, steps need to be taken to provide the vaccine to every child in the world. Of course, this is easier said than done. However, over years, people have been making efforts to ensure that everyone gets access to the drug. With the developments being made in the medical field, there might actually be a cure for polio some day.