Moms and Dads: Know the 6 Signs of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)

Kids & Pediatric Steward Health Care

There has been a rise in the cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in children recently. This serious and rare condition affects a child’s immune system – specifically the spinal cord and its symptoms mirror a polio-like disease.

“AFM is not new,” explains Steward Health Care Family Medicine Physician Jeremy Mashburn, DO. “But the increase in cases beginning in 2014 is new. Researchers are working diligently to understand better what causes AFM and who is most at risk.”

Know the Signs of AFM

Parents and caregivers should seek medical care immediately if your child develops any of the following symptoms:

  • Weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes in the arms or legs
  • Facial droop or weakness
  • Difficulty moving the eyes
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slurred speech

Even though there are still a lot of unknowns around what is causing and how to prevent AFM, it’s important to practice the following disease prevention steps:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Stay up-to-date on vaccines
  • Prevent mosquito bites

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov