Spinal Life Australia is encouraging all health professionals to attend a training workshop in order to learn about late effects of polio.
While Australia was officially declared polio-free in 2000, survivors of the disease continue to battle with the ongoing effects later in life.
For the estimated tens of thousands of Australian polio survivors, many will experience late effects of polio or post-polio syndrome, which leads to potentially debilitating symptoms. Late effects of polio can have a significant impact on mobility, safety, independence, energy levels and quality of life.
Symptoms can include increased fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain, increased sensitivity to cold, difficulties with swallowing and sleeping, and adverse reactions to anaesthesia and medications.
Unfortunately, the condition is still relatively unknown, even among polio survivors themselves who may not understand the symptoms they are having – which can often be dismissed as signs of ageing and therefore not managed properly.
“It’s so important that knowledge and awareness of post-polio conditions and the impacts are more widely known by all health professionals, in order to better care for the survivors of this terrible disease,” Chief Executive Officer of Spinal Life Australia Mark Townend said.
“Because it’s currently not possible to treat some of these issues with medication, survivors who are not receiving adequate care are forced to suffer in silence as their bodies deteriorate.
“We’re also encouraging family members to check in with their loved ones to see if they had polio, in case they may be experiencing symptoms, so they can seek support.”
Spinal Life Australia supports people experiencing late effects of polio with advocacy, community connections and other services.
This includes raising awareness about late effects of polio to ensure health professionals are better informed and can more effectively diagnose and treat polio survivors as they age.
Visit spinal.com.au/polio to find out more about late effects of polio or enquire about training workshops.
Disclaimer: This article was provided by Spinal Life Australia. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network does not warrant or represent the accuracy, currency and completeness of any information or material included within.