- Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow
- Take the Tummy Trouble Quiz
- Hepatitis C Slideshow Pictures
- Polio facts
- What is polio?
- What is the history of polio?
- What causes polio?
- What are risk factors for polio? How does polio spread?
- What are polio symptoms and signs?
- How do physicians diagnose polio?
- What is the treatment for polio?
- What is the prognosis of polio?
- Is it possible to prevent polio? Is there a polio vaccine?
- Polio-like illness
What is the treatment for polio?
Once the virus that causes polio has infected a person, there is no treatment that will cure polio. Early diagnosis and supportive treatments such as bed rest, pain control, good nutrition, and physical therapy to prevent deformities from occurring over time can help reduce the long-term symptoms due to muscle loss. Some patients, unfortunately, may require extensive support and care.
For example, some require breathing assistance and special diets if they have difficulty swallowing while other patients may require splints and/or leg braces to avoid extremity pain, muscle spasms, and limb deformities. Some improvement in the symptoms may occur over time, but this improvement is not easily predictable and varies from patient to patient. For example, patients who needed breathing assistance could be treated with the iron lung. Over time, some would improve and no longer would require iron lung therapy.
What is the prognosis of polio?
The prognosis for patients with polio depends on the extent of damage caused by the poliovirus. Many patients may have few if any symptoms and will have an excellent prognosis. However, the prognosis worsens when patients begin to show symptoms of paralysis, especially with decreased ablility ot breathe or swallow. Many patients who develop more severe polio symptoms progress to lifelong disabilities or death.