Today's Doodle on Google honors Dr. Jonas Salk, the creator of the polio vaccine...
I owe him a big THANK YOU!
From 10/28/14 Google Doodles
My father contracted polio in September 1951 and suffered the aftereffects from it for the rest of his life. Because of the complications that came with contracting polio (paralysis, difficulty breathing, etc.), my dad spent time in an iron lung at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in California. The iron lung was a cylinder shaped machine that helped him to breathe. Without the aid of the iron lung, few people with severe forms of polio would have survived.
This photograph was used in National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis
and March of Dimes publicity.
Once my father came home, my mom had to lift and carry him during his recovery time. My mom did all of this while caring for two toddlers. My dad had to learn to walk again and spent years relearning to walk without the aid of crutches, but eventually lost both legs below the knees and spent his later years confined to a wheelchair. My aunt and one of my sisters contracted a lesser case of polio and recovered without some of the severe complications my father and others dealt with. Because of Dr. Salk's vaccine, my children and their children don't have to suffer the way my dad did.
Polio can easily spread from person to person because it is highly contagious. The virus resides in the intestinal tract and mucus in the nose and throat. The virus can be spread by eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with the polio virus and is commonly found in sewage water. This is probably why my sisters and I were told to never play in the gutter water on our street out of fear we'd catch it from contaminated water. It is also spread by touching surfaces or objects that have been contaminated and then placing the hand in the mouth. Less commonly, but possible, polio can be transmitted through respiratory droplets, like when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
Minor symptoms of polio are fever, muscle pain, stomach pain, but in some cases severe paralysis occurs (which happened to my father.) Approximately 95 percent of the people who get the virus will have no symptoms, but can still transmit the virus and cause polio in those around them.
It must have been so scary for my family and everyone else during that time!
Once again, Thank You Dr. Salk for finding a vaccine that stopped this!
If my dad hadn't survived polio, I wouldn't be here.