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Viral Infection

Understanding Polio

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Image is from GOOD Magazine

Poliomyelitis, popularly known as polio is a crippling, infectious and potentially harmful viral infection transmitted by the poliovirus. The virus can spread from a person to another and acts swift once in the body, infecting the brain and spinal cord.

The result is paralysis and potential death. Even though the virus isn’t common in most developed countries, polio could me a menace to people who travel out of the country often.

Poliovirus Transmission and Infection

The primary mode of transmission is via person-to-person contact. The virus resides in the human mouth or intestines meaning that it can be transmitted through contact with human excrement even in the tiniest bit.

A less common infection route is by inhaling sneeze or cough droplets. Any traces of feces in your hands when touching your mouth or putting infected items like toys into your mouth could lead to an infection.

Since infected people can be carriers for up to two weeks, it is hard to know who to avoid as apparently healthy people could be a threat. This combined with the fact that the virus can live out of the human body for weeks means that the risk of infection from contaminated food or water is very high especially in low sanitation areas.

Popular Poliovirus infection Symptoms

Most of the people with the poliovirus will show no visible symptoms. Worse still, up almost 25 percent of the infected will have nothing more than flu-like symptoms. These could be

  • A sore throat
  • Fever, nausea and tiredness
  • Headache and stomach pain

These symptoms could linger for a week or so before they ebb depending on whether your immune system was strong enough to fight off the virus or not.

If unaddressed the virus could develop into serious brain and spinal cord injury causing:

  • A constant feeling of pins and needles in your legs (paresthesia)
  • Meningitis (the infection of the spinal cord, brain or both)
  • Paralysis

Paralysis is the worst of the poliovirus infection symptoms. If the patient is lucky, the paralysis could affects limbs leaving the person disabled. In rare but more severe cases, the virus could affect core muscles, for instance muscles controlling your breathing hence leading to death.

When Does the Poliovirus Infection Become Polio?

Poliomyelitis, by definition, is a paralytic disease. Consequently, only people whose poliovirus infection results into paralytic disease are technically considered to have the disease.

With no actual control over how the virus will react once in the human body, it is always safe to stay clear of the virus.

Poliovirus Infection Prevention

As with most viral infections, preventing the infection is always better than trying to cure it. As of to date, there is no known cure for polio. The best medicine can offer to infected individuals is:

  • A proper nutritious diet
  • Bed rest with pain relievers
  • Moderate physical therapy to keep the muscles working
  • Drugs and medication to control the virus’ spread and effect

While things like improved sanitation and personal hygiene might reduce the spread of the virus, it is wise to take the polio virus at the designated times. There is a total of four shots in the regime.

  • When two months old
  • When four months old
  • Six to 18 months old
  • Between four and six years

Adults could also consider taking the vaccine when traveling to high prevalence areas. Even though the immunity gathered from childhood vaccines would be enough to keep you safe as long as you live, it would do you no harm to get an extra shot when you can.

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How Does Your Heart Work

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Cannot Replicate Nature Exactly

Men of science try to replicate the heart and its function; somehow mechanical hearts do not seem to stand the test of time. Heart transplants have come a very long way in the last 20-years, and there are now more successful organ transplants than there are failures as seen when heart transplants first emerged on the medical scene. The heart is the largest and strongest muscle in your body.

The Largest Muscle in the Human Body

Did you know that it takes, two pumps for the heart to work, one positioned on the left side and one on the right side?

If it were not for the heart and its function, all the rest of your vital organs could not do their job or live without the oxygen-rich blood the heart circulates throughout your body, while one chamber of your heart squeezes the other chamber relaxes in sequence.

The Left Chamber

The role of the left heart chamber or pump is to receive blood from the lungs full of precious oxygen and deliver it through the arteries to all parts of the body. Nutrients accompany this oxygen-rich blood to feed vital organs.

The Right Chamber

The function of the right chamber of the heart (pump) is to receive used blood from your body and deliver it back to the lungs. This second process is responsible for ridding the body of carbon dioxide and picking up new freshly oxygenated blood.

Four Valves

Each chamber of the heart has two valves, four valves altogether. These valves control the blood flow into and out of the heart chambers. These valves help to monitor the amount of blood to and from the lungs. Another job of these heart valves is to keep blood always flowing forward, never backward. Once these valves open to let blood out of the chamber, they close so that the blood does not seep back into the heart.

It is vital that your heart works like a good precision timepiece as your body relies upon the constant pumping action of the heart in its remarkable job of supplying your body with oxygen.

An Unparalleled Electrical System

The heart does not just consist of two pumps; the heart offers you so much more, such as its electrical system prompting the chamber into a synchronized movement. The heart’s electrical impulses control your heart rhythm. This heart rate is what medical professionals listen to when they want to see or hear the rhythm of your heart if the doctor orders an EKG. This rhythm controls how fast your heart beats.

As long as your heart stays healthy, the normal heart rate and rhythm keep going. If the electrical impulses mess up, it causes your heart not to beat in an even pattern, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or it may present an irregular beat.

Health issues cause a heart pattern to beat irregularly, such as,

  • A Viral Infection
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heavy Alcohol Consumption
  • Narrowed arteries
  • Malfunctioning Heart Valves
  • Congenital Heart Defect

Keep Your Heart Healthy

  • Eat healthily, read food labels, be aware of hidden sugars and sodium in food choices.
  • Stay active and develop an exercise plan right for you.
  • Stay within your healthy adult body weight. If overweight, lose the pounds.
  • Quit smoking and do not breathe secondhand smoke
  • Cut alcohol consumption to a minimum
  • Make sure to monitor your cholesterol levels. Work with your doctor
  • Remove all stress from your life that you can remove. The stress you cannot remove, you must learn how to cope with in a healthy way.

 

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