While Australia was officially declared polio-free in the year 2000, many survivors still live with the impact of the once-widespread disease.
Some polio survivors experience symptoms returning decades after their initial recovery, known as late effects of polio or post-polio syndrome.
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 and difficulties with swallowing and sleeping. Polio survivors have also reported adverse reactions to anaesthesia and sensitivity to medications.
Physiotherapy, rehabilitation and being aware of your limitations can help to manage symptoms, which is why well-informed intervention is recommended.
Late effects of polio are often mistaken as a sign of ageing by medical professionals who are not aware that polio symptoms can return, so it’s essential to discuss your history with your doctor.
You can also access more information on the Polio Australia website.
Supporting survivors and raising awareness
We support 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.
To help us spread the word, you can provide our resources to your GP and other health professionals and encourage them to participate in training workshops, listed below.
Join our community
If you are experiencing late effects of polio, we encourage you to:
- Discuss your experiences with late effects of polio with your health professional, therapists, and family. Feel free to print a copy of our information brochure to pass on.
- Contact us to discuss your situation, find out more information you can share with your GP or to locate your nearest support group.
- Become a member of Spinal Life to stay up to date with news, events and updates, and connect with others to share experience and advice.
Workshops for health professionals
If you are a health professional and would like to learn more about late effects of polio or post-polio syndrome, we encourage you to book a Polio Australia training workshop for you and your team.
These workshops are available Australia-wide, in-person or via Zoom, and are tailored to various disciplines including GPs, nurses, allied health professionals, aged care workers and more.