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Polio and post-polio syndrome
Polio is caused by a virus that spreads easily. The virus attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis. Today, polio is a rare disease in the United States and most countries thanks to the polio vaccine. But, people who have had polio can develop post-polio syndrome years after getting better.
Symptoms of post-polio syndrome include:
- New weakening in muscles that were affected by the polio infection when you first got it
- Joint pain
If you have had polio, post-polio syndrome cannot be prevented or cured. But the polio vaccine, also called IPV, can protect children today from ever getting the virus.
If you have post-polio syndrome, you might need to make lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms. Pace your activity level throughout the day. Overuse or misuse of muscles and joints can lead to pain, weakness, and fatigue. Certain types of physical activity can help maintain function. Work with an experienced doctor or physical therapist to find physical activities that are right for you. Also, getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, not smoking, and certain medicines may help some of the symptoms of post-polio syndrome.
Explore other publications and websites
Information About the Late Effects of Polio (Copyright © Post-Polio Health International) — This publication about post-polio syndrome provides information that is targeted toward polio survivors, their friends and family, and health professionals.
Post-Polio Syndrome Fact Sheet — This publication explains what post-polio syndrome is, how it is diagnosed, its treatment, and where you can go for additional information.
Connect with other organizations
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH, HHS
Post-Polio Health International
Vaccine Information for the Public and Health Professionals
World Health Organization
Content last updated September 22, 2009.
Resources last updated September 22, 2009.
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