WHAT IS POLIO?
Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is a deadly disease that mainly attacks the nervous system leaving the infected person crippled and paralyzed.
Polio is caused by the polio virus. This virus is transmitted through faecal – oral route or through infected food and water.
Polio can be paralytic or nonparalytic.
Paralytic and Non-Paralytic Polio
Nonparalytic polio may develop to become paralytic polio in 1% cases. Initial symptoms of paralytic polio resemble the symptoms of nonparalytic polio; which are usually non-specific such as a fever, headache, malaise or a sore throat. Paralytic polio as the name implies eventually leads to paralysis.
Is Polio Contagious?
- Yes, the polio virus is contagious.
- Make sure you sterilize all the items your child puts into her mouth. Poliovirus can be spread through contaminated objects and toys.
- The droplets from the sneeze or cough of an infected person can also infect your child.
- An infected person may spread the virus for at least 2 -3 weeks after developing symptoms.
- Poliovirus can live in the stool of the infected person for many weeks.
- The infected person can also contaminate the food and water if they touch it with dirty or unwashed hands.
What are the symptoms of Polio?
95-99% cases of Polio are asymptomatic.
Symptoms of Non-Paralytic Polio
- Sore throat
Symptoms of Paralytic Polio
- Loss of reflexes
- Floppy limbs
- Deformed limbs (hips, ankle, feet)
- Sudden paralysis which can be temporary or permanent.
- Permanent paralysis is seen in less than 1% cases.
What are the Different Vaccines Available for Polio?
Two vaccine choices available are –
- Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)
- Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV)
Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV)
- Given in oral form.
- An active but weakened form of the virus.
- Provides immunity for the surrounding community.
It is considered safe to administer 4 or more doses of OPV to children. The vaccine is designed to be administered multiple times to ensure full protection. There is no risk of overdose.
Two drops are to be given at the time of birth. The drops should be given at 6 months, 9 months and 5 years of age.
Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)
- Given as an injection.
- IPV contains inactivated virus proteins.
- This vaccine provides immunity only to the individual person.
IPV can be given at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks of age. A booster dose is given at around 16 – 18 months of age.
How do the Polio Vaccines Work?
Vaccines, when administered, produce antibodies in the blood against the poliovirus.
In the event of infection, these antibodies prevent the spread of the virus to the central nervous system. This, in turn, protects your child from the harmful and deadly effects of polio.
Should My Child Get Vaccinated Against the Polio Virus?
Yes, polio vaccination is very necessary for your child. It not only protects your child from the infection, but it also provides immunity for the surrounding community.
Is Polio Vaccination Safe?
Yes, polio vaccination is safe. The only side effect can be the usual redness that occurs after the injection.
You can see this video to understand How do Vaccines actually work –
Can vaccination be given during Fever, Cold, Cough or Diarrhea?
Yes, your baby can be vaccinated. The vaccine has no harmful effects in these conditions. However, it is best to consult with your pediatrician before going for the vaccine.
What is Pulse Polio?
Pulse Polio is an immunization campaign established by the government of India.
It’s a campaign that aims to eliminate poliomyelitis (polio) in India.
It does so by vaccinating all children under the age of five years against the polio virus.
How many Polio Vaccines does your child need?
You can also refer to our Vaccination Chart for more information on this.
- OPV is given soon after birth.
- Three doses of IPV alone can be given at 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks of age.
- A booster dose of IPV should be given between 12-18 months of age.
- At least 2 doses of OPV at 6 months and 9 months should be given after IPV.
- The third dose of OPV should be given at 4-6 years of age.
- In cases of unavailability or shortage of the IPV, oral doses of the vaccine can be given. Minimum 3 doses of OPV should be given to ensure protection.
- All additional doses of OPV are mandatory. Doses should be given till 5 years of age.
What can you do if you miss your Child’s Polio Vaccination?
In case you miss your vaccination appointment, meet with your pediatrician as soon as possible and follow the catch-up vaccination schedule.
Avoid such discrepancies in the future. All vaccinations should be taken on time according to the schedule recommended for your little one.