Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

Having to deal again with an illness you thought was in the past can be discouraging, even overwhelming at times. Recovering from the initial illness required drive and determination, but now the late effects of polio require you to rest and conserve your energy.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Limit activities that cause pain or fatigue. Moderation is key. Overdoing it on a good day can lead to several subsequent bad days.
  • Be smart. Conserving your energy through lifestyle modifications and assistive devices doesn't mean you're giving in to the illness. It just means you've found a smarter way to deal with it.
  • Stay warm. Cold increases muscle fatigue. Keep your home at a comfortable temperature and dress in layers, especially when you go out.
  • Avoid falls. Get rid of throw rugs and loose clutter on the floor, wear good shoes, and avoid slippery or icy surfaces.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet, stop smoking and decrease caffeine intake to keep fit, breathe easier and sleep better.
  • Protect your lungs. If your breathing is impaired, watch for signs of a developing respiratory infection and have it treated promptly. Don't smoke, and stay current with your flu and pneumonia vaccines.

Coping and support

Dealing with the fatigue and weakness of post-polio syndrome can be difficult physically and psychologically. You might need to lean on your friends and family. Don't hesitate to tell them what kind of help you need.

Consider joining a support group for people with post-polio syndrome. Sometimes talking things over with people who have similar problems can help you cope. Ask your doctor about support groups in your area.

April 07, 2017
References
  1. Simionescu L, et al. Post-polio syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.
  2. Post-polio syndrome. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/post_polio/detail_post_polio.htm. Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.
  3. Post-polio syndrome. American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine. http://www.aanem.org/Patients/Disorders/Post-polio-Syndrome. Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.
  4. Maitin IB, et al. Neurorehabilitation. In: Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Nov. 4, 2016.