If you're like me, your power wheelchair is a necessity of life and a replacement for your legs. I was apprehensive at first about traveling with a $25,000 wheelchair. What happens if it gets damaged? Will it fit on the airplane? I learned the answers to all of these questions and more - by traveling. In the past two years, I have taken more than 300 flights within the U.S. and abroad - all with my power wheelchair.
Watch this short video, which shows how airlines load powered wheelchairs into the aircraft's cargo hold:

I built this website to empower wheelchair travelers with information, so they could focus less on transportation and more on the destination. I follow multiple blogs, Facebook groups and forums to keep myself abreast of the discussions concerning travel in the disability community. I recently saw this post on Facebook:
Facebook Post - Flying with a Power Wheelchair
Power wheelchairs should not be transported on their sides, as the risk of damage becomes significantly greater. Members of the Facebook group in which this was posted were quick to jump on Delta Air Lines, blaming them for mistreating the chair. Although I have had more than my share of disability service issues with Delta, I was quick to ask the important questions:
  1. What type of aircraft was this?
  2. What were the dimensions of the aircraft's cargo hold?
  3. Were instructions on how to collapse/fold the seat back provided to the airline?

Make sure your wheelchair will fit into the airplane cargo hold.

As comments critical of the airline multiplied, the original poster returned with some additional information:
I didn't have a fit. I didn't scream and rant. I didn't report anyone. On our return flight we requested them not to turn on side and they explained that's the only way it would fit. So I requested to my travel agency that my next trip if we could possibly have a plane that it could sit up right.
Power Wheelchair Slide Out Pin To Lower Seatback For Air TravelThe reason Delta placed the wheelchair on its side was because it would not fit through the cargo hold door upright. Smaller planes have smaller cargo holds, which means power chairs will have to be collapsed (seatback folded forward/disassembled) or stowed on a side. When planning your next trip, consult my list of airplane cargo hold dimensions.
As wheelchair travelers, we must be adequately informed so that we can understand what to expect throughout the course of travel. The passenger whose Facebook post I copied above was shocked to see their wheelchair loaded on its side, because they were not aware of the varied sizes of cargo holds. I have done my best to provide the pertinent information that wheelchair travelers should know in this website's Frequently Asked Questions section.

Develop a plan for collapsing your wheelchair (if necessary).

If your seatback will need to be folded forward to fit, bring the tools necessary and instruct the airline how to handle the disassembly. They are more than happy to help, and are required to do so by the Air Carrier Access Act.
Given the frequency with which I travel, I worked with my local wheelchair repair shop to fashion a pin that can be easily removed to collapse the seatback. These pins, pictured at the left, have saved me and the airline staff a great deal of time.

Damage to your wheelchair is covered.

Power Wheelchair Damaged Controls 2015 Delta Air Lines
In 2015, my wheelchair's control pad was broken away from its clasp on a Delta Air Lines flight. Parts were ordered and repairs made promptly.
Many of the post's most negative comments came from people who had heard a story on the news, or from a friend. One lady, from the Northeast United States, wrote that she no longer travels by air, for fear of wheelchair damage:
I won't fly because a friend had his Quantum Edge 600 mangled beyond recognition on an airplane in cargo. I have the same chair. The airlines won't replace a $22,000 chair, even if they did I wouldn't have mine when I arrived. I take the train.
There are a couple things wrong with this comment. First, the Air Carrier Access Act fully protects your mobility equipment. Meaning that airlines operating to, from or within the United States are completely liable for damage to your wheelchair.
In 2014, my equally expensive wheelchair, a Quantum Q6 Edge, was similarly "mangled beyond recognition." It was written off as a "total loss" and the airline responsible (Delta) quickly started the process of ordering a brand-new replacement. While I waited for its delivery, I was given a loaner chair, which was far less specialized for my use and needs.
Before allowing fear to dictate your travel plans, allow me to point out an important fact - the accidents that lead to a wheelchair being inoperable are very rare. In my more than 300 flights since January 2014, my wheelchair has been damaged a handful of times, but only once was I left without the ability to use it. I'll take those odds, and so should you.
Delta Air Lines, Boeing 747

Communication with your airline is key.

I reached out to a Delta Air Lines official for comments that I could share with my readers on this topic. Specifically, I asked about ways that passengers and airlines can work together to minimize damage (emphasis mine):
"...engagement with Delta regarding how to best handle and transport a wheelchair would really help us...you know personally that we need specific details on the device and then we need to be able to communicate these details to the next station.  Coupled with more training for our people on loading and securing the chair, I’m confident that we will make progress in this area."
As you saw in the video above, there are a lot of people involved in the handling of your wheelchair. Ground staff and gate agents need to be informed on how best to lift your chair. If the wheelchair needs to be collapsed, it will be your responsibility to provide instructions on how to do that. At the end of the day, a wheelchair is baggage, and instructions on its care must come from you, the traveler.
I also spoke to my contact at Delta about the cost of damaging a wheelchair. I received an interesting response (emphasis mine):
"Damage to a customer’s wheelchair definitely impacts the bottom line...As you know, the damage to our brand is far more costly than any expense involving the repair of a chair.  What people think of Delta as a high quality airline is everything."
In this social media world, an airline's failure to promptly repair a wheelchair or mobility device could "go viral" in an instant. A recent failure of service by United Airlines in Washington, D.C.went viral, which led me to write a response, 3 Takeaways from United Airlines' Disability Services Failure. Bad PR negatively affects the bottom line, and airlines (typically) try to prevent such situations from arising.


Early this year, at the meeting of the Delta Air Lines Advisory Board on Disability, the airline announced that 3.34 of every 100 wheelchairs transported were damaged in 2014. This figure was much lower than I expected. Contrary to the discussion with disability groups, though, wheelchairs are not "tossed around" like standard baggage. I haven't met a man who can toss a 200-pound powered wheelchair!
Most damage to wheelchairs at airports and on airplanes is accidental. Damage can also be the result of negligence. In the video I shared, you saw a Detroit baggage handler offload my 200-pound wheelchair by himself - that was negligent, and just plain stupid. Power wheelchairs such as mine should be lifted by 4 people, but even then, accidents can happen.
The earlier you inform airlines of your plans to travel with a power wheelchair, the more time they will have to prepare. Similarly, a complete set of instructions for handling your device should be attached to your wheelchair. Handling instructions increase the odds (which are already good!) of your chair coming back in one piece.
Airlines face two costs when they damage mobility equipment: to their financial bottom line and to their reputation. At least with regard to handling your wheelchair, the airlines are not out to cause you harm. The strict requirements of the ACAA ensure there will be an unavoidable cost if your chair is not returned in the same condition.

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico


Traveling with a neurologic condition is not impossible.


Many travelers have their own system for folding and storing their wheelchair before flying. Karen Jackson asks to meet the person in charge of cargo to show him or her how to fold the chair, which reduces the chances it will be broken at her destination. She also wraps the joystick in bubble wrap, and takes the seat cushion with her on the plane. If you have any problems with your wheelchair, or any other travel concerns, look for the “chief resolution officer,” advises Jani Nayar, executive coordinator of the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality. Since travel can be more fatiguing than your normal routine, consider using assistive devices such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs, even if you don't use them all the time, says McClure. You can request one at airports and often at recreation sites such as Disney World. For airports, request a wheelchair when you book your flight, says Nayar, then call the airline 48 hours ahead to be sure your request has been documented. You'll need to check in at the counter rather than at a ticket kiosk in order to meet the attendant with the chair.

Being in a wheelchair does not guarantee that you'll be able to cut a long security line, so for US airports consider applying for TSA PreCheck at http://tsa.gov/precheck. This prescreening program from the TSA requires an online application, a brief in-person interview, usually at a local airport, and an $85 fee. You may have to wait a few weeks to get an interview so apply early. In February 2017, 97 percent of TSA PreCheck members waited less than 5 minutes, according to the TSA, compared to 20 minutes on average for the regular line—which can be longer during busy times.
If you're traveling internationally, consider a Global Entry card from US Customs and Border Protection. It costs $100 for a five-year card but includes TSA PreCheck privileges and a likely shorter wait at Passport Control when you return to the United States.
If you're unable to get out of a wheelchair for the airport security screening, call TSA Cares at 855-787-2227 or email TSA-ContactCenter@tsa.dhs.gov at least 72 hours before your flight, advises Mike England, a TSA spokesman. This special office can answer questions about screening and medical supplies, including liquids, you can take with you. You can also ask for a passenger support specialist to meet you at the screening checkpoint to help with the process. And go to http://bit.ly/TSA-SpecialProcedures for information on what you can carry on board.
All this planning may seem daunting, but getting each piece in place increases the chance for a more enjoyable and seamless trip, says Jackson. And the extra effort is worth it, she says. Dr. Giesser agrees. “Don't let disease limit you,” she says. “If you possibly can, get good medical advice, plan accordingly, then go ahead and get on the road.”
© 2017 American Academy of Neurology

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico


Mutant Strains Of Polio Vaccine Now Cause More Paralysis Than Wild Polio

Nurses give the oral polio vaccine to a Syrian child in a refugee camp in Turkey. The oral polio vaccine used throughout most of the developing world contains a form of the virus that has been weakened in the laboratory. But it's still a live virus.
Carsten Koall/Getty Images
For the first time, the number of children paralyzed by mutant strains of the polio vaccine are greater than the number of children paralyzed by polio itself.
So far in 2017, there have been only six cases of "wild" polio reported anywhere in the world. By "wild," public health officials mean the disease caused by polio virus found naturally in the environment.
By contrast, there have been 21 cases of vaccine-derived polio this year. These cases look remarkably similar to regular polio. But laboratory tests show they're caused by remnants of the oral polio vaccine that have gotten loose in the environment, mutated and regained their ability to paralyze unvaccinated children
"It's actually an interesting conundrum. The very tool you are using for [polio] eradication is causing the problem," says Raul Andino, a professor of microbiology at the University of California at San Francisco.
The oral polio vaccine used throughout most of the developing world contains a form of the virus that has been weakened in the laboratory. But it's still a live virus. (This is a different vaccine than the injectable one used in the U.S. and most developed countries. The injectable vaccine is far more expensive and does not contain live forms of the virus.)
Andino studies how viruses mutate. In a study published in March, he and his colleagues found that the laboratory-weakened virus used in the oral polio vaccine can very rapidly regain its strength if it starts spreading on its own. After a child is vaccinated with live polio virus, the virus replicates inside the child's intestine and eventually is excreted. In places with poor sanitation, fecal matter can enter the drinking water supply and the virus is able to start spreading from person to person.
"We discovered there's only a few [mutations] that have to happen and they happen rather quickly in the first month or two post-vaccination," Andino says. "As the virus starts circulating in the community, it acquires further mutations that make it basically indistinguishable from the wild-type virus. It's polio in terms of virulence and in terms of how the virus spreads."
In June, the World Health Organization reported 15 cases of children paralyzed in Syria by vaccine-derived forms of polio. These cases come on top of two other vaccine-derived polio cases earlier this year in Syria and four in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"In Syria, there may be more cases coming up," says Michel Zaffran, the director of polio eradication at the World Health Organization. He says lab work is still being done on about a dozen more cases of paralysis to confirm whether they're polio or something else.
The cases in Syria are all in the east of the country near the border with Iraq.
It has become fairly common each year for there to be one or two small outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio. These outbreaks tend to happen in conflict zones where health care systems have collapsed.
"These outbreaks are occurring only in very rare cases and only in places where children are not immunized," says Zaffran. The regular polio vaccine protects children from vaccine-derived strains of the virus just as it protects them from regular polio. Vaccine-derived outbreaks, he says, "occur where there are large pockets of unimmunized children, pockets sufficiently large to allow for the circulation of the virus."
WHO is staging a massive response to the Syrian outbreak. WHO plans to work with local health officials and aid groups to vaccinate a quarter of a million children in early July. The goal is to reach every child younger than 5 in the area with two doses of two different types of polio vaccine, spaced one to two weeks apart. This would be a logistical challenge in most parts of the world, never mind in war-torn Syria.
"The access in these areas is a bit limited because of the presence of ISIS," Zaffran says in what seems like an understatement. Eastern Syria is home right now to Syrians who've fled from Raqqa (the ISIS capital in Syria), other parts of the country and even Iraq. "Also there's a risk that the fighting might actually move to this area."
Zaffran is confident that the rogue vaccine-derived virus circulating in eastern Syria right now can be wiped out with a massive blast of more vaccine.
"We knew that we were going to have such outbreaks. We've had them in the past. We continue to have them now. We know how to find them, and we know how to interrupt them. We have the tools to do that," Zaffran says. "So it's hiccup ... a very regrettable hiccup for the poor children that have been paralyzed, of course. But with regards to the whole initiative, you know it's not something that is unexpected."
WHO is attempting to phase out the use of live oral polio vaccine to eliminate the risk that the active virus in the vaccine could mutate into a form that can harm unvaccinated children.
But for now, the live vaccine continues to be the workhorse of the global polio eradication campaign for a couple of reasons. First it's cheap, costing only about 10 cents a dose versus $3 a dose for the injectable, killed vaccine. Second, it can be given as drops into a child's mouth, which makes it far easier to administer than the inactivated or "killed" vaccine, which has to be injected. Third, there simply isn't enough killed vaccine on the market to vaccinate every child on the planet, and vaccine manufacturers don't have the capacity to produce the quantities that would be needed if such a switch happened immediately.
And finally, the live vaccine stops transmission of the polio virus entirely in a community if sufficient numbers of people are vaccinated. The killed vaccine doesn't fully block the virus from spreading because a person who is immunized can still carry and spread the polio virus. And this is an important difference between these two types of vaccines when the goal is to exterminate the polio virus.
"The fact is this [the live oral polio vaccine] is the only tool that we have that can eradicate the disease," says Zaffran.
That eradication effort has been incredibly successful. In 1988, when the campaign began, there were 350,000 cases of polio around the world each year compared with the six so far this year.
Zaffran credits the oral polio vaccine with getting the world incredibly close to wiping out a terrible disease.
"Four regions of the world have totally eradicated the disease with the use of the oral polio vaccine," he notes. "Of course we need to recognize that there have been a few cases of children paralyzed because of the vaccine virus, which is regrettable. But, you know, from a public health perspective, the benefits far outweigh the risk."

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico


Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 – Democratic Republic of the Congo

Emergencies preparedness, response

Disease outbreak news 
13 June 2017
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), two separate circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2s (cVDPV2s) have been confirmed. The first cVDPV2 strain has been isolated from two acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases from two districts in Haut-Lomami province, with onset of paralysis on 20 February and 8 March 2017. The second cVDPV2 strain has been isolated from Maniema province, from two AFP cases (with onset of paralysis on 18 April and 8 May 2017) and a healthy contact in the community.

Public health response

The Ministry of Health, supported by WHO and partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), has completed a risk assessment, including evaluating population immunity and the risk of further spread. 
Outbreak response plans are currently being finalized, consisting of strengthening surveillance, including active case searching for additional cases of AFP, and supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) with monovalent oral polio vaccine type 2 (mOPV2), in line with internationally-agreed outbreak response protocols. 
Surveillance and immunization activities are being strengthened in neighbouring countries. 

WHO risk assessment

WHO assesses the risk of further national spread of these strains to be high, and the risk of international spread to be medium. 
The detection of cVDPV2s underscores the importance of maintaining high routine vaccination coverage everywhere, to minimize the risk and consequences of any poliovirus circulation. These events also underscore the risk posed by any low-level transmission of the virus. A robust outbreak response as initiated is needed to rapidly stop circulation and ensure sufficient vaccination coverage in the affected areas to prevent similar outbreaks in the future. WHO will continue to evaluate the epidemiological situation and outbreak response measures being implemented.

WHO advice

It is important that all countries, in particular those with frequent travel and contacts with polio-affected countries and areas, strengthen surveillance for AFP cases in order to rapidly detect any new virus importation and to facilitate a rapid response. Countries, territories and areas should also maintain uniformly high routine immunization coverage at the district level to minimize the consequences of any new virus introduction.
WHO’s International Travel and Health recommends that all travellers to polio-affected areas be fully vaccinated against polio. Residents (and visitors for more than four weeks) from infected areas should receive an additional dose of OPV or inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) within four weeks to 12 months of travel. As per the advice of the Emergency Committee convened under the International Health Regulations (2005), efforts to limit the international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Countries affected by poliovirus transmission are subject to Temporary Recommendations. To comply with the Temporary Recommendations issued under the PHEIC, any country infected by poliovirus should declare the outbreak as a national public health emergency and consider vaccination of all international travellers.

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

Painless patch could replace flu jab: study

Despite recommendations for universal vaccination, less than half the population in the United States currently gets a flu jab, and influenza kills some 48,000 people in the US every year (AFP Photo/TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

Paris (AFP) - Vaccines delivered via a painless, throw-away patch could one day eliminate the need for needle-and-syringe flu injections, researchers said Wednesday after completing a preliminary trial.
Equipped with micro-needles, the patches vaccinated against influenza just as effectively as a standard flu jab, they reported in the medical journal The Lancet.
"This bandage-strip sized patch of dissolvable needles can transform how we get vaccinated," said Roderic Pettigrew, director of the US National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, which funded the study.
The new technology can be self-administered and stored without refrigeration, making it significantly cheaper that traditional vaccines.
"It holds the promise for delivering other vaccines in the future," Pettigrew added.
A hundred tiny needles -- just long enough to penetrate the skin -- embedded in each patch dissolve within minutes when exposed to moisture from the body.
Adhesive holds the patch close the skin while the vaccine is released, and can be peeled away after 20 minutes and discarded.
In phase I clinical trials, researchers from Emory University in Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology randomly divided 100 adults into four groups.
Three received the micro-needle patches: one delivered by a healthcare provider; one self-administered; and the third -- delivered by a nurse -- a placebo without any active ingredients.
The fourth group received a classic flu jab with a syringe.
All the active flu vaccines worked equally well for at least six months, regardless of whether they were delivered by professionals or the patient, or whether they were administered by a syringe or a micro-needle.
The manufacturing cost for the patches is expected to be about the same as for pre-filled syringes.
But the patch is expected to be cheaper because it can be sent through the mail and self-administered.
In addition, it is stable for a year at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), and does not require refrigeration, the researchers said.
"These advantages could reduce the cost of the flu vaccine and potentially increase coverage," said lead author Nadine Rouphael, an associate professor at Emory. "Our findings now need confirming in larger trials."
Mark Prausnitz, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, led the design of the small coin-sized patch, and is co-founder of a company that is licensing the technology.
Despite recommendations for universal vaccination, less than half the population in the United States currently gets a flu jab. Influenza kills some 48,000 people in the US every year.

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico


How to Make Your Home Wheelchair Friendly

If you are a wheelchair user or live with someone who uses a wheelchair, you may know how difficult it is to movea wheelchair throughout the house if there are not enough space or accessible areas. There are many ways to make it easier to live at home with a wheelchair that are easy to accommodate. Below are 5 ways to adjust your home to be wheelchair friendly.

1. Install ramps
When you have steps that lead you to the doorway, installing a ramp is a great way to eliminate the hassle of using the steps. It is a big improvement for wheelchair user to enter the house quickly. Before installing ramps, check your area if it is required to install rails at a certain height.

2. Enlarge doorways

Navigating through narrow doorways is a big problem for wheelchair users. In order to fix this issue, you would have to have your doorways enlarge by cutting a large opening to make it wider.

3. Floor choices

Not all flooring styles are wheelchair friendly. Carpet and rugs can make it difficult for wheelchair user to move around due to the rough or thick surface. It is best to use soft carpeting or hard floors, such as wood and tile, in your house.

4. Install grab bars

Grab bars is a great tool for wheelchair users to have stability to prevent the risk of falling. They are best installed in the bathroom especially beside the toilet and in the shower. In general, grab bars are useful in other parts of the houses when stability is needed.
Assist Rail 
Bed Rail

5. Adaptive equipment

Adaptive equipment comes in different shapes and sizes. These equipment help wheelchair user do certain tasks independently when they are in the kitchen or in the bathroom. For example, you can design a kitchen with equipment to allow wheelchair user to independently move or grab objects. You can also add a shower chair in the bathroom. Click here for more details about shower equipment.

Shower Chair with Back Support

Shower Chair

For more detail suggestions on how to make your home to be wheelchair friendly, check out the image below. The image provides great advice for each room. Click on the image for a clearer view.

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico


 Keah Brown, a writer and activist who has cerebral palsy, breaks down the pervasiveness of ableism in the media—and how to do better.

It’s hard living in a world that sees your body as a thing to be horrified of. No one chooses disability. The only choice in disability is to adapt—not in spite of it, but because we deserve to live as well as possible. When Lorde likened celebrity and its restrictions to an autoimmune disease earlier this week, I was taken aback. She’s since apologized, and though it was short, I believe she was sincere. The problem with her initial comment is it exposes a deeper and larger problem in our popular culture and society today. Lorde isn’t the first person to conflate disabilities with unpleasant or unwanted situations, and she won’t be the last.

There is a pervasive belief in our society that disabled people are too much work, are burdens, and that we don’t like ourselves or our bodies. Popular culture upholds this falsehood while often showing only one type of disabled body— a white male wheelchair user, like in Me Before YouThe Fundamentals of Caring and ABC’s Speechless. On critically acclaimed shows like CW’s Jane The Virgin, the idea of disability and paraplegia is met with shock and borderline horror. When Michael (Brett Dier) was shot by a crime lord, his family and loved ones were informed the surgery may have paralyzed him. The minute the words left the doctor’s mouth, the atmosphere on the show shifted. The family’s concern wasn’t that Michael would have to adjust to life as a full-time wheelchair user, or how best to help him, but that even the possibility of disability was too much to handle. In the Netflix series Man To Man, a cop is intentionally run over by a semi truck. When the subject of possible paraplegia is brought up, it is met with quiet horror from the character’s family members. 
"Lorde isn’t the first person to conflate disabilities with unpleasant or unwanted situations, and she won’t be the last."
Lorde’s comparison of disability to negative situations or, rather, inconvenient ones, is inaccurate and harmful. The idea that those of us with autoimmune diseases can be equated to an inconvenience affects not only our self-esteems, but promotes a negative narrative of disabled people echoed in films like Me Before You and Million Dollar Baby. In these movies, disability is met with anger and frustration, the wish for death and ultimately, the fulfillment of that wish, sending the message that disabled bodies are inconvenient and not worth living in. It’s difficult to watch these movies receive praise, because that tells real-life disabled folks that resentment and death are the only ways to function in our bodies. 
Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin in Me Before You
EverettDesign by American Artist
While I believe Lorde’s comment warranted an apology, we have to remember it’s part of a larger issue—that society treats disability like the worst possible thing. As someone who loves popular culture, this truth is heartbreaking, and a large part of the reason I spent most of my adolescent and teenage years hating my body and myself. I’m sure some people think, “Relax, it’s just one comment,” but statements like Lorde’s help shape culture and public perception of certain lived experiences. We can’t continue to move forward in society unless the disability community feels properly seen and heard.
"Films like Me Before You and Million Dollar Baby send the message that disabled bodies are inconvenient and not worth living in."

Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

The Polio Crusade

THE POLIO CRUSADE IN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE A GOOD VIDEO THE STORY OF THE POLIO CRUSADE pays tribute to a time when Americans banded together to conquer a terrible disease. The medical breakthrough saved countless lives and had a pervasive impact on American philanthropy that ... Continue reading..http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/polio/

Erradicación de La poliomielitis

Polio Tricisilla Adaptada