Worm infections are extremely common in children and spread easily. These parasitic organisms live and feed off the living host. Apart from the irritation that occurs because of infection, most of them are usually asymptomatic. White worms are usually visible in an infected child’s anal area and the child’s stool.
Health Capsule got in touch with Dr. Kosala Karunaratne, Consulting Pediatrician of Lady Ridgeway Hospital Colombo, in order to shed light upon the topic.
“There are many types of worms that infest the bowels of people, such as pinworms, hookworms, roundworms and so forth. Pinworms are tiny, narrow worms and such infection is one of the most common types of human intestinal worm infections. This infection is spread by person to person by ingesting pinworm eggs that have contaminated hands, bedsheets, clothing and other items. Pinworm eggs can live on household surfaces for over two weeks, especially in cool, humid areas such as bathrooms. When a child or adult has been infected with pinworms, the entire family has the risk of contracting it. Hence, all family members will have to be treated at once.
“Human beings contract hookworms through eggs and larvae found in dirt, contaminated by faeces. Hookworms are also known to causing blood loss which ultimately leads to anemia. They are an intestinal parasite that causes intestinal disease.
“Roundworms are the largest worms measuring up to 5-6 inches. They live inside human gut and infect the small intestine which can ultimately cause human intestines to be obstructed. Most of these infections are contracted by coming into contact with contaminated soil, but tapeworm infections on the other hand are contracted through undercooked pork, fish and meat,” Dr. Karunaratne said.
Steps that could be followed to avoid worm infections
“General cleanliness is of utmost importance when it comes to preventing worm infection. These infections are contracted through soil which is contaminated by faeces. If you make sure to wash your hands well before preparing food and after using the washroom, the chances of contracting these infections can be reduced. Thoroughly cooking your food too minimises the chances of contracting these infections.
“Also, trimming your child’s nails and making sure they have fresh and dry clothes on keep infections at bay. Teaching them good health habits such as cleaning their hands after passing stool and making sure they wash up before and after meals could be of immense importance too,” Dr. Karunaratne said.
Treating worm infections as quickly as possible is extremely important because these infections are contagious and the wise move is to treat worm infections as soon as symptoms appear.
How can you tell if your child has a worm infection?
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