A physical examination, bodily fluid tests, and questions regarding your symptoms are how a healthcare provider determines if you have polio. It is crucial to inform your provider about any recent travels. Polio is frequently diagnosed by symptoms, such as stiff neck and back, atypical reflexes, or weakening in the muscles.

A stool sample can be tested in a lab to find the poliovirus, which will confirm the diagnosis. A throat sample containing the virus can only be detected in the first week of sickness. Therefore, a throat sample is a less trustworthy way to obtain test results. Cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, can be tested to rule out further nervous system disorders.


No specific medications are available for the treatment of polio. If you develop paralytic polio, physical therapy becomes essential to manage the symptoms. In cases where the muscles involved in breathing are weakened or paralyzed, mechanical ventilation, also known as a breathing machine, may be required to assist with breathing.

Since there is currently no treatment for polio, the goals are to improve comfort, speed healing, and avoid complications. The following supportive therapies may be used, depending on the severity of the disease:

  • Drinking fluids.
  • Exercises used in physical therapy to avoid bone deformities and loss of muscular function.
  • Getting plenty of rest.
  • Pain relievers.
  • Portable ventilators for respiratory assistance.
  • Splints or other devices used to promote optimal posture and alignment of the limbs and spine
  • Using hot packs to reduce muscle aches and spasms.