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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Angelica L Dumapit and Physician Brandon Yew on September 28, 2022

How To Best Protect Yourself Against The Polio Virus Outbreak

There is no cure for the Polio virus, but TCM can help you manage symptoms, such as muscle weakness, respiratory symptoms, and sleep apnea.

Polio virus min scaled

Recent cases of paralysis in New York, London, and Jerusalem suggest that a Polio virus outbreak has occurred. To date, only two confirmed cases of Polio virus have been identified.

However, the virus causes irreversible paralysis in fewer than one in 200 people who are at risk of infection, indicating that many more may possibly be infected.

Experts fear this could spread quickly, resulting in dangerous health effects for many as COVID-19 and monkeypox are also on the rise.

Read on to learn about the Polio virus, how to identify symptoms, and tips to best protect your health.

What Is The Polio Virus?

The Polio virus does not cause symptoms in most people. In some, it can lead to paralysis or death.

Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is a disease caused by the Polio virus. Most people experience mild or no symptoms from the infection. However, it can cause paralysis, muscle weakness, and even death in others.

The three variations of the virus are known as wild Polio virus types 1, 2, and 3. Types 2 and 3 no longer exist while type 1 is most likely to cause paralysis.

Additionally, there are several different types to be aware of:

  • Paralytic poliomyelitis: This occurs when the Polio virus attacks the spinal cord and brain, paralyzing the muscles that allow you to speak, breathe, swallow, and control your limbs. The two sub-categories are called spinal and bulbar. Both types can occur together. This is known as bulbospinal. Fewer than 1% of people with Polio virus will get this type.
  • Abortive poliomyelitis: A more mild form of Polio that causes flu-like and intestinal symptoms that only last a few days. This type doesn’t cause long-term issues.
  • Non-paralytic poliomyelitis: Symptoms may include aseptic meningitis or swelling of the brain area. This type of Polio virus may require you to stay in the hospital until treatment is done.
  • Polioencephalitis: This is a rare form of polio that causes brain swelling and mostly affects infants.

What are the symptoms?

Approximately 70% to 95% of people do not experience symptoms from the Polio virus. Among those with symptoms, the mildest form (abortive poliomyelitis) may cause intestinal and flu-like symptoms. Those infected with the most serious form, paralytic Polio, may experience paralysis.

Other symptoms may include:

How do you get it?

Polio virus is highly contagious. It spreads from person to person through sneezing or coming in contact with an infected person’s body fluids.

It can also spread by drinking or swimming in contaminated water, touching infected surfaces, or eating foods that a sick person touched.

How do you treat it?

There is no cure for the Polio virus. If you are diagnosed with paralytic Polio, you may need physical therapy. If you are having trouble breathing, you may be put on a ventilator. Vaccines can prevent infection from occurring.

Polio Virus Causes and Symptoms, According To TCM

Physical therapy may be needed in some cases to help improve muscle weakness.

We asked Senior Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Physician Brandon Yew to explain the Polio virus from a TCM perspective.

He stated that infection of the Polio virus depends on a person’s unique body constitution and varying specific imbalances, such as the kind of pathogens or type of Deficiencies present in the body.

Infections may be:

  • Asymptomatic 
  • Mildly symptomatic that is flu-like, temporary, and self-limiting 
  • Severely debilitating and even life-threatening, often resulting in paralytic sequelae 

“Essentially, the more significant the imbalance of the person, the weaker his or her immunity, the greater the toll the virus will exact on the body. As such, there is no one standard formula to improve a person’s health and prevent polio infection,Physician Yew stated.

TCM Ways To Manage Polio Virus

TCM remedies, such as herbal medication, acupuncture, cupping, guasha (scraping), moxibustion and tuina (Chinese manual therapy), can help manage Polio virus symptoms.

Herbal remedies

Below listed are some TCM herbal formulations that can help to enhance qi and blood circulation and unblock meridians:

  • Di Tan Tang
  • Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang
  • Tong Qiao Huo Xue Tang
  • Xiao Huo Luo Dan
  • Da Huo Luo Dan (more potent than Xiao Huo Luo Dan)
  • Bu Yang Huan Wu Tang
  • Di Huang Yin Zi

Additionally, you can purchase ready-made herbal supplements to help fight the flu-like symptoms of Polio, such as Kang Du Qing Fei pills. Other helpful supplements include:

  • Pure Chicken Essence: For muscle weakness and general fatigue
  • Bird’s nest: For respiratory health, immunity, and to recover from atrophy
  • Lingzhi: To help protect against neurological complications and mortalities that occur due to the high risk of poliomyelitis-like paralysis and brain inflammation

“Please always bear in mind that the herbal formulas provided above are meant for varying pathological states of paralytic Polio, corresponding to different body constitutions, which are characterized by underlying specific imbalances. As such, it is strongly advised to not purchase any of them to self-medicate without first consulting a certified TCM professional. He or she will assess the patient’s unique body constitution and current medical state and advise accordingly, “stated Physician Yew.

Acupressure

Acupressure is an easy self-help remedy you can do by placing fingers or a blunt object like a massage stick at certain acupoints and applying an appropriate amount of pressure to elicit a tolerable sensation of soreness or tenderness. At the same time, massage in both clockwise and anticlockwise circular motion 20 times each. Repeat for at least 3 minutes per acupoint.

Acupoints for Polio-induced sleep apnea and respiratory conditions:  

  • Ya Men (DU15)  
  • Ding Chuan (EX-B1)
  • Ying Xiang (LI20)
  • Tian Tu (RN22)
  • Dan Zhong (RN17)
  • Zhong Wan (RN12)
  • He Gu (LI4)
  • Tai Yuan (LU9)
  • Feng Long (ST40)

Acupoints for lower limbs muscle weakness and paralysis

  • Yao Yan (EX-B7)
  • He Ding (EX-LE2)
  • Zu San Li (ST36)
  • Yin Ling Quan (SP9)
  • Yin Men (BL37)
  • Wei Zhong (Bl40)
  • Cheng Shan (BL57)
  • San Yin Jiao (SP6)
  • Tai Xi (KI3)
  • Tai Chong (LR3) 

“Do take note that acupressure can only help to manage mild muscle weakness and paralysis. It is thus strongly recommended to seek professional help from a licensed TCM practitioner, who can perform acupuncture safely and effectively to provide a much stronger and more comprehensive therapeutic efficacy in tackling the actual root imbalances behind paralytic Polio. Do co-consult a neurologist, especially if the symptoms persist and are of greater severity,” concluded Physician Yew.

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