Polio is an acute and contagious infectious disease that most often affects young children between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Viral infection affects the functioning of the central nervous system and in severe cases can lead to paralysis. It is important to know the symptoms of polio in children in order to protect your child from the serious consequences of the disease.
Finding out the symptoms of polio at different stages
Infection is transmitted directly from person to person through the ingestion of a joint meal or water contaminated by a virus, as well as through the feces of infected people. The virus is especially actively circulating in places where sanitary and hygienic standards are neglected or not observed at all, as well as in third world countries. Rarely, an infection can enter the body of a healthy child through the saliva emitted when a patient coughs or sneezes.
The incubation period is from 7 to 12 days, in rare cases it can vary from 2 to 30 days. Poliomyelitis is manifested in different forms: some babies are somewhat milder, while others can have very serious consequences.
How to diagnose a disease at an early stage?
The first signs of polio in children are easily confused with the common cold. These include:
- fever and chills;
- fatigue and lethargy;
- limb pains;
- sleep disturbance.
In infants, convulsions are also added to the main symptoms. Some cases of infection may be accompanied by prolonged constipation or, conversely, diarrhea. The similar picture, as well as at a usual virus of a flu, is observed about 5-7 days. If at this time an analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid is carried out, then the numerical prevalence of neutrophils will be revealed against the background of a slight increase in protein.
It is also worth noting that many children may not show signs at all. This condition is called asymptomatic. However, even in this case, a small patient will be a carrier of infection.
More open forms of the disease, fortunately, are very rare. Among them, the preparative and paralytic periods can be recognized. For the preparalitch period, 2 forms are characteristic - febrile and meningitis.
The febrile form of polio has the same symptoms as in the incubation period and is difficult to distinguish from other viral diseases. In addition, the child may appear such signs:
- back and limb pains;
- a sharp increase in the tone of the cervical and occipital muscles;
- hypersensitivity to the stimuli of various sense organs.
A form of meningitis occurs when the febrile portion is accompanied by a slight paresis — a decrease in strength caused by damage to the nervous system.
In 10% of cases, the acute form of poliomyelitis enters a more severe stage - paralytic. Paralysis, as a rule, occurs immediately after the completion of the febrile syndrome and at first may be insignificant, to put it only in the morning muscle atrophy. After paralytic polio, approximately 1 in 4 patients develop severe permanent disability, 1 in 4 develop moderately and 2 out of 4 children recover almost completely.
The recovery period depends on the type of damage. Predispose to the development of serious consequences such factors:
- recent tonsil removal;
- state of immune deficiency;
- open and severe wounds and injuries;
- constant physical activity.
Finally, there is another form called bulbar polio. It differs from the previous ones in that the infection affects the control centers of the respiratory muscles, the muscles of the larynx and the heart.
Even in children who have survived the effects of polio, symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, and muscle damage can persist for a long time.
Polio: Does it make sense to vaccinate against the disease?
No matter how bitter it sounds, but in the world of computer technology, the tremendous progress in science and medicine, there is still no cure for poliomyelitis. All treatment is only to eliminate or alleviate the symptoms. The only sure way to fight is vaccination at an early age.
In 1955, the Salk vaccine, an inactivated virus, was approved worldwide, and in 1961 the Sabina vaccine, a live, attenuated virus, was added to it. Both drugs received their names in honor of the doctors who conducted the research. And each of the vaccinations is currently considered effective. At one time, doctors Salk and Sabin refused copyright, and therefore both developments were donated to humanity.
The main difference between these vaccines is that after vaccine Sabin in children can develop the so-called symptoms of vaccine-associated polio. In fairness it should be noted that the percentage of such complications in our country is very low - in 1 child out of 3 million vaccinated children. The situation is quite different in the third world countries and in areas with poor sanitary and hygienic standards, to which low-grade varieties of vaccines are delivered.
Equally important is the question of whether polio can be infected by a vaccinated child. Unfortunately, children who received an associative syndrome from vaccination are also carriers of the infection and can spread it to unvaccinated people.
Of course, only parents can decide whether to give their child this vaccine or not. But ask a similar question to an experienced doctor, and he will answer you that the risk of getting a virus from a vaccine is hundreds of times less than contracting the disease by airborne droplets. Therefore, before you refuse vaccination, consider whether you are ready to take on the heavy burden of responsibility for the health of your child and the people around you in the event of illness?
Polio is a very dangerous disease for children. In order to maximally protect your beloved child from serious consequences, this disease must be able to be distinguished from hundreds of other infections. And the best time to get vaccinated. Take care of yourself and your children!