- It is a well-known fact that here are several types of worms that can infect humans.
- They are threadworm, roundworm, pinworm and hookworm and tapeworm.
- They are parasites and depend on humans as hosts for their survival.
- These infections are very contagious can spread from person to person, things/eatables to person ,soil to person and animal to person.
Here are a few routes that can spread these parasitic worm infections :
- Walking barefoot in the garden, playground or any infected soil increases the risk of getting infection as the larvae or the baby stages of some of the worms such as hookworm burrow through the skin of bare feet.
- Accidental ingestion of worm eggs through eating fruits, vegetables, grains, fish and meat contaminated with roundworm or whipworm.
- Washing fruits and vegetables with contaminated water.
- Sometimes, infected pets can be a source of infection to the owners.
- Coming in contact with the soil that has been contaminated with human faeces from an infected person.
- Not washing hands with soap and water after defecating.
Symptoms of worm infestations :
- Worms in stool
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Wheezing or cough
- Itchy bottom
- Disturbed sleep
- Irritability and general weakness
- Long term infection with worms (especially tapeworm) may cause anaemia and weight loss.
Prevention of worm infestations:
- Washing hands with soap and water before and after eating meals and after using the restroom.
- Clean toilet seats and potties regularly
- Keep children’s fingernails short.
- Wash all fruit, salads and vegetables (all types of food that is to be consumed raw) before use.
- It is best to avoid uncooked food outside home and eat only at reputable places which are government certified.
- Rinse all meats before preparing them for cooking and make sure that meat is cooked well and not left raw.
- Do not drink any water unless you are sure of its cleanliness. It is important to carry your own water everywhere.
- Always wear shoes/footwear to stop worms entering through the feet.
- Oral intake of anti-helminthic medicine ( anti-worm medicine) on doctor’s advice is the sure shot way to prevent the spread of worm infestations.
- If already infected, it is important to clean all the possible places such as towels, beddings, washrooms/washbasins and all the family members and pets of the infected person too should be dewormed.
IMPORTANT FACTS ON DEWORMING IN INDIA-
- Since 2016, the exercise of deworming millions of children in India has been taken up twice an year in which the children between age group 1-19 are given two doses of the anti- helminthic( anti-worm ) drug, six months apart.
- Recently, researchers have found out that following regular prophylactic anti helminthic strategy as started by the government and including both children and adults will help achieve a significant reduction in both prevalence and intensity (number of eggs per gram of faeces) of infection.
- Deworming medication kills adult worms but not the eggs. Therefore, repeating the dose every six months is very important to get rid of any new worms that may have hatched after the previous dose of anti-worm medicine.
- Generally, doctors prescribe a single dose of albendazole 400mg tablet once every six months for children. It is known to work on most parasitic worm infestations except for tapeworm.
- Different medicines namely Praziquantel and niclosamide are prescribed for tapeworm infestation. Similar to other anti-helminthic drugs, these are also a one-time dosage and need to be carefully calculated as per the weight and age of the child and just weight in adults.
It is best to talk to your family doctor and plan on getting yourself, your family and your pets dewormed as per the schedule recommended by the Government of India.
Pic Credits: Internet