Keep an eye out for the symptoms of AFM -- an illness similar to polio -- that people suspect has arrived in Maryland!

Germs are an everyday part of life -- we can't avoid them even if we're armed with all the hand sanitizer in the world (and believe me, I've tried). But sometimes these germs can turn into serious illnesses that can mess up someone's life, even if it's only temporary. And -- cue the Jaws theme -- there are suspected cases of a polio-like illness called AFM in Maryland, according to Patch

Acute flaccid myelitis, more simply known as AFM, is a rare illness that affects a person's nervous system (the spine, in particular) and causes weakness in the affected person's limbs -- hence, why it is being said that the illness reminds people of polio. The illness also occurs the most in children. Throughout 2018, there have been 62 confirmed cases in 22 states across the country. And since September, Maryland health officials have been investigating five cases that might be AFM. 

In addition to weakness in the legs and arms, here are some other signs to keep an eye out for: drooping or weakness in the face, trouble swallowing, slurred talking, trouble moving the eyes, drooping eyelids, or possibly an inability to urinate. The most severe symptom that can affect someone, however, is respiratory failure. So, if you or anyone you know demonstrates these symptoms, do not hesitate to head to the doctor.

Then, as a preventative measure, health officials recommend staying up-to-date on your vaccinations, washing your hands, and doing everything you can to prevent those pesky mosquito bites (symptoms are also similar to that of West Nile virus, which is also rampant in Maryland right now)!

What do you think of these possible cases of AFM? Share your thoughts on the situation in the comments below!

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