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Vaccines and Immunizations

IPV (Polio)

Most people in the United States have never seen a case of polio (full name poliomyelitis). This is because the polio vaccine has stopped this crippling illness from being a major problem. Even so, polio has not been entirely destroyed. This is why children still need to be vaccinated to protect them from this devastating illness. 

What causes polio?

Polio is caused by a virus. Most often, it is transmitted through direct contact with someone who has the virus, but some people get it through food and water. Polio can live outside the body for a long time, so a sneeze or a cough can carry the virus from one person to another. There is no way to cure the virus that causes polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.


What are the symptoms of polio?

The polio virus attacks the intestine, brain and spinal cord and causes a range of different symptoms. The symptoms of polio resemble the flu at first. As the disease gets worse, symptoms can include:

• Confusion
• Fatigue
• Fever
• Headache
• Pain in the limbs
• Stiff neck
• Vomiting

In severe cases, polio can cause paralysis (an inability to move a part of the body). It can even paralyze the lungs and make it impossible for a person to breathe. Polio can cause permanent disability or death. For the most part, people who have been vaccinated do not have to worry about all of the dangers of polio.


What do you need to know about polio vaccines?

Before the polio vaccine was invented in 1955, polio caused serious illness in thousands of people each year. It is the disease most often associated with the iron lung, a machine that helped people with polio breathe.  Many polio patients also suffered partial or total paralysis in the legs, and required the use of crutches and orthotic shoes.

IPV is the vaccine used in the U.S. It is given as a series of 4 injections, usually to children at 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months and again at 4-6 years. It is part of the group of vaccines (often called a shot series) given to children as they grow.

At The Vaccine Shop, we are happy to administer IPV to children and adults under certain circumstances. Most adults do not need IPV because they were already vaccinated against polio as children. But some adults are at higher risk and should consider polio vaccination, including:

• people traveling to certain parts of the world,
• laboratory workers who might handle polio virus, and
• healthcare workers treating patients who could have polio.

You can talk to a The Vaccine Shop practitioner to learn more about IPV and to ask questions about vaccinations for you or your family. We’ll also send your updated information to your primary care physician for their records, with your permission.

*The Vaccine Shop® employs physician assistants in select states. See here for details.


Related Services:

hepatitis ahpv (human papillomavirus)hepatitis btd (tetanus, diphtheria)meningitis

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