Call your doctor if you've recently returned from travel abroad and develop symptoms similar to those that occur with polio.
Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
Information to gather in advance
- Pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make your appointment, ask if there are any restrictions you need to follow in the time leading up to your visit. Your doctor may recommend taking steps to reduce the risk of spreading a potentially contagious illness to others.
- Symptom history. Write down any symptoms you've been experiencing and for how long.
- Recent exposure to possible sources of infection. Be sure to describe international trips in detail, including the countries you visited and the dates.
- Medical history. Make a list of your key medical information, including other conditions for which you're being treated and any medications, vitamins or supplements you're currently taking. Your doctor will also need to know your vaccination history.
- Questions to ask your doctor. Write down your questions in advance so that you can make the most of your time with your doctor.
For polio, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Do I have polio?
- Are there any other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What self-care steps can I take to aid my recovery?
- How long do you expect a full recovery will take?
- Am I contagious? If so, for how long?
- Do I need to follow any restrictions?
- When can I return to work or school?
- Am I at risk of any long-term complications from polio?
Don't hesitate to ask any additional questions that occur to you during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. Your doctor may ask:
Mar. 05, 2011
- What are your symptoms?
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms seemed to be getting better or worse?
- Have you recently been around people with symptoms similar to yours?
- Have you recently traveled abroad? Where?
- Did you update your vaccinations before traveling?
- Are you being treated for any other medical conditions?
- Are you currently taking any medications?
- Are you pregnant?
- Polio disease - Questions and answers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/print.do?url=http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/polio/dis-faqs.htm. Accessed Jan. 16, 2009.
- Poliomyelitis. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/index.html. Accessed Jan. 16, 2009.
- Simmons Z. Polio and infectious diseases of the anterior horn. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 9, 2009.
- Howard RS. Poliomyelitis and the postpolio syndrome. British Medical Journal. 2005;330:1314.
- Atkinson W, et al. Poliomyelitis. In: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 10th ed. Washington D.C.: Public Health Foundation; 2008:101.
- Shefner JM, et al. Post-polio syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 9, 2009.
- Risk factors. Global Polio Eradication Initiative. http://www.polioeradication.org/risk.asp. Accessed Jan. 19, 2009.
- Sorenson EJ, et al. Electrophysiological findings in a cohort of old polio survivors. Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System. 2006;11:241.
- Modlin JF. Poliovirus vaccination. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 9, 2009.
- Polio vaccine: What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-IPV.pdf. Accessed Jan. 16, 2009.
- Pediarix (prescribing information). Research Triangle Park, N.C.: GlaxoSmithKline; 2008.