Polio Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Polio is an infection caused by a virus that is still found in some parts of the world, but we have a vaccine that can prevent it. This lesson will teach you about the polio infection.

Polio: A Disease

Before humans had vaccines, there were more diseases we had to worry about catching. A vaccine is a type of medicine someone gets that makes it harder for him or her to catch a disease. Many vaccines make it impossible for someone to catch a disease.

One disease that used to be common is called polio, but you probably don't know anyone who has had polio. One of our previous presidents, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, suffered from polio. However, there have not been any naturally occurring cases of polio in the United States since 1979 because a good vaccine was developed. But there are still cases of polio in other parts of the world, especially in places without running water.

An old poster advertising the polio vaccine.
Polio Vaccine Poster

Polio is an infection caused by a virus. A virus is a small infectious organism that multiplies when it gets inside the body and makes a person sick. There is no cure for polio, but it is preventable with the vaccine. Polio is spread by eating dirty food or drinking dirty water. It can also be passed from an infected person to a healthy person through direct contact like touching.

Symptoms of Polio

There are different types of polio. Sometimes polio doesn't cause any symptoms but sometimes it does.

One type of polio causes symptoms just like the flu, like fever, sore throat, headache, sleepiness, and vomiting. This type of polio is called non-paralytic polio because symptoms only last for about ten days and do not affect a person's ability to move.

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