INFANTILE PARALYSIS (poliomyelitis), is paralysis in infants and young children. It is divided into the intra-uterine and the post-natal classes. Dr. Tilden says "the ante-birth causes are not hereditary; for an influence to cause paralysis to be hereditary would prevent conception; or, in other words, sterility prevents such calamities." Nature brands unfitness with the stamp of sterility.
The Paralysis may be due to changes in the brain or in the cord. Several forms are described, but these relate to location and not to the actual cause or causes of the affection.
CAUSES: Cases developing before birth are due to injuries and poisons. Doubtless most of these cases are really due to injuries, received at birth. Cases developing after birth result from infection, either from gastro-intestinal decomposition or from vaccination. A plethoric state, due to over-eating, is described by medical men as a "well-nourished" state. They say that acute epidemic poliomyelitis "appears in children previously well nourished."
Children usually completely recover from these conditions. Many die, many more are left crippled for life. Undoubtedly many cases of death and permanent disability are due to the drugs and serums used in treating the condition in its early and acute stages.
CARE OF THE PATIENT: Rest in bed, with plenty of fresh air in the room are essential. Stop all food until all convulsions, twitchings, spasmodic movements, spastic contractions, fever, etc., are gone. After this feed the child a fruit diet for a week, then feed it normally. Cases that are left with muscular and nervous incoordination require muscular and nervous reeducation in the form of educational gymnastics.