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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Poliomyelitis: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Brain and Nervous System


Alternate Names : Acute Paralytic Poliomyelitis OR APP, Polio, Type 1 Poliovirus, Paralytic Poliomyelitis, Nonparalytic Poliomyelitis, Infantile Paralysis

Poliomyelitis | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the infection?

People with mild symptoms usually get better after several days of bed rest. Any additional infections are treated with antibiotics. People who have damage to their nerve cells need to have their symptoms treated.

  • Muscle spasms and pain are treated with medication and hot, moist packs.
  • Sometimes the nerves and muscles that control the bladder are affected. In this case, a urinary catheter can be inserted into the bladder to drain urine.
  • A ventilator, or artificial breathing machine, may be needed if the nerves and muscles of the lungs are damaged.
  • A firm bed with a footboard can be used for people with paralysis of the legs.
  • In cases of paralysis, physical therapy can help prevent muscle damage while the disease is active. Once the virus is no longer active, physical therapy can help keep the muscles functioning.
  • What are the side effects of the treatments?

    All medications have side effects. Antibiotics and pain medications have some side effects, such as stomach upset or allergic reactions. Treatments to help with breathing or urination may cause infections.

    What happens after treatment for the infection?

    After the poliovirus is treated, the person will still need physical therapy to gain strength and mobility. After many years, new nerve cells can begin to fail, resulting in muscle weakness. This is known as postpolio syndrome.

    How is the infection monitored?

    Monitoring is ongoing. Postpolio syndrome develops very slowly. It is usually diagnosed after muscle strength testing is done over a long period of time.

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    Poliomyelitis: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Terry Mason, MPH
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/27/01

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