Symptoms of Polio: Flu like symptoms can cause deadly disease

Divya Tripathi

, Health A2Z

Polio, also known as poliomyelitis and infantile paralysis, is a highly contagious viral infection that can lead to paralysis, breathing problems, or even death. It is such fear among the people to get infected with the deadly disease. Well, the symptoms of polio care not clearly visible until they are not severe. So, here let’s explore the symptoms of polio to understand it better.


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Polio is an infection which is caused by a virus, poliovirus. Earlier it was very common and feared because it caused paralysis and could be deadly. But, after the polio vaccine in the number of cases fell rapidly. No new cases of polio have started in India since 2014. But it is still a problem in some parts of Asia and Africa.


What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Polio?


Usually, symptoms of polio are not clearly visible and it can be confusing sometimes. But, some people can have mild symptoms of flu, That is why one cannot even suspect that they have polio. These symptoms can include:


  • Upper respiratory infection (feels like a cold)



  • Fever


  • Diarrhea


  • Nausea and vomiting


  • Stomach pain



  • A general feeling of being sick


Rarely, the virus affects the brain and spinal cord, causing much more serious symptoms, such as:




The poliovirus can infect your meninges, which are the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. This virus can cause a stiff neck, a severe headache, and sensitivity to light.


Muscle weakness or paralysis


The poliovirus can destroy the nerve cells which is used to control muscles. The muscles get painful and weaker until they stop working. If a person can’t use their muscles they are not able to move the body— known as paralysis. This can be life-threatening.


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Is Polio contagious?


Yes, Polio is very contagious. The poliovirus enters the body via the mouth of a person and grows in the throat as well as intestines. This virus spreads to other people through saliva (spit) or feces (poop). People can get infected if:


  • A person gets direct contact with the poop of an infected person or touches an object that is contaminated with the poop.


  • A poliovirus infected person sneezes or coughs on them.


  • They consume foods or drink liquids contaminated with the virus. This can happen if they use the same food or utensils.


  • An infected person can have the virus in their throat for 1–2 weeks, and in their poop for up to 6 weeks or longer. Even someone who has no symptoms of poliovirus can pass the virus to other people.


How Long Does Polio Last?


Polio with the milder symptoms usually makes a full recovery within a week or two. People whose symptoms are more severe can be weak or paralyzed for life, and some may die.




The symptoms of polio are not clearly visible until and unless it is not severe. Severe signs and symptoms of severe can be life-threatening and can lead to death. So, take proper precautions and vaccines to prevent yourself and the near one with such a deadly disease.


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