Polio or poliomyelitis is a contagious disease that was mostly eradicated in the modern ages. Organized vaccination against polio throughout the world prevented this viral infection even though there are some parts of the world where polio is still a common disease. The vaccine contains some amount of the virus but not that strong and thus the immune system develops its means to fight the polio virus. Apart from this vaccine, there is also an inactivated vaccine with no virus at all (IPV vaccine). In the most severe forms, polio can lead to the paralysis and eventually be fatal. The epidemic in the first part of the 20th century has triggered the wide use of the vaccine. The vaccination against polio was introduced in the 1950s. The oral vaccine, the one with the virus, is no longer in use due to the numerous side-effects that causes. Inactivated vaccine is received usually during childhood in four shots starting from the 2nd month of life and ending with the fourth shot given before elementary school. People who have never been given the vaccine can be vaccinated at any time. The first shot is followed by the second in 2-month period and the third comes after the second 6 to 12 months. Besides these people, there is also a risky group of people that can get the vaccine. Medical workers are exposed to the risk of polio if a patient near them has polio. Laboratory staff experimenting on the virus as well as people visiting risky countries should get the vaccine shots. Sometimes the fourth booster dose is given that is enough for the whole life.
Polio vaccine usually does not cause any irritability and discomforts when received. If the side effects do appear, they are mild and disappear soon after the vaccination. The vaccine is received into the leg or arm, so, the slight swelling or redness may occur around the vaccine spot. Among the most common side effects are weakness, tiredness and agitation for a day or two. A small percentage of people have reported heavy breathing, vomiting and nausea. Adverse side effects are rare and only 1 % of people feels complications. Polio vaccine, as other vaccines, may develop allergic reactions manifested mostly in the skin rashes. A person may have a high temperature, irregular heart beating and breathing problems. The lungs can sound as if whistling and a person feels dizzy and exhausted. Whenever the side effects are noticed, it is of crucial importance to seek medical help immediately so as to prevent further health complications.