Gastro Health

Parasitic Worm Infestations and Deworming

Written by Dr. Vasantha K S and medically reviewed by Dr. Madhankumar M V

 
Image: Parasitic Worm Infestations and Deworming

Worms are parasites living in the different organ systems of the hosts and feed off of their nutrition. There are certain parasites, whose hosts are us, humans. They may also infest other organs of the body, but in humans, most commonly they infest the digestive tract. While parasitic infestations are not as predominant in developed countries, it is endemic to developing countries in the tropics and sub-tropics, especially in areas that are overcrowded and without proper sanitation.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Perianal itching.
  • Abdominal discomfort.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Sudden weight loss.
  • Nausea.
  • Fever.
  • Rashes.
  • Bloody stool.
  • Worm in the stool.

What Are the Causes?

The parasites which cause severe symptoms are:

  • Hookworm.
  • Tapeworm.
  • Pinworm.
  • Flukes.

How Do Worms Spread?

As children are exposed to the environment during outdoor play, they are most susceptible to get infested. They frequently get exposed by the following modes:

- Touching contaminated soil.

- Petting infested animals.

- Lack of personal hygiene.

- Not following proper handwash routine and techniques.

- Intake of contaminated food or water.

How Is It Treated?

Once worm infestation is confirmed by the doctor using blood tests, stool examination or imaging tests, deworming treatment in the form of anti-parasitic medications such as Albendazole, Mebendazole, and Ivermectin are prescribed by the doctor to be taken once. A repeat dose after a period of six months may be given.

How to Prevent Worm Infestation?

Since these parasites depend on our nutrition for their survival, they can cause anemia, malnutrition, and stunted growth periods. It is therefore imperative to prevent them in the first place or they can have long-term effects on the health. Prevention is through the maintenance of proper hygiene measures:

  1. Encourage the child to wash the hands thoroughly after play, after using the toilet and before eating, every single time.
  2. Teach kids about the importance of maintaining personal hygiene through bathing every day.
  3. Use effective disinfectants while cleaning the floor of the house.
  4. Frequently change bedcovers and pillowcases in your child's room.
  5. Trim your child's fingernails short always.
  6. Discourage them from putting their hands in their mouth as a habit.
  7. Do not allow them to share clothes, towels, and undergarments with friends.
  8. Avoid eating out in places you are unsure of.
  9. Ensure vegetables and meat are thoroughly washed and cooked at all times.
  10. Drink only boiled, cooled water that you carry from home.

For more information consult a worm infestation specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist/worm-infestation

Last reviewed at: 11.Feb.2019

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