Worm Infestation: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention (with video)
Look at this video.
That’s NOT indomie noodles
That’s NOT dangote pasta
That’s NOT basmati rice
Those are worms.
Worms can invade your intestines and multiply in a way that it causes severe intestinal blockage that would require surgery to resolve.
How did this happen?
About 1billion people in the world – mostly in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America develop worm infections In most cases (90%), it shows no symptoms and the person’s body can easily fight it off.
But in some people especially children, worm infections can be very serious.
Thankfully, worm infections are mostly harmless- but in children and some adults, it can be quite serious. As of 2010, worms killed about 2700 people a year.
In children it can cause malnutrition, growth problems, poor weight gain, convulsions, anemia, learning problems and academic failure.
How can you get worm infections?
Worms are mainly spread in small bits of poo from people who have worm infection.
If children touch soil with poo that have worm eggs and put those hands in their mouth, they can get it. Some are caught from contaminated and poorly cooked food.
You can also get infected by:
1. touching objects/surfaces with worm eggs on them – if someone with worms doesn’t wash their hands and touched the same place.
2. touching soil, taking food/water with worm eggs in it – mainly a risk in parts of the world without modern toilets.
3. walking barefoot on soil containing worms – again, this is only a risk in parts of the world without modern toilets.
4. eating raw or undercooked meat, pork or freshwater fish which may contain baby worms – more common in parts of the world with poor food hygiene standards.
How can you know if you or a child have worms?
The commonest symptoms are very itchy anus and you may see worms that look like white threads in the poo. Sometimes it may be tummy aches and diarrhea for more than 2weeks with weight loss for no reason – Pls get worm medicine ASAP.
Other symptoms are:
Loss of appetite
Poor weight gain
Visible worm in stools
Anemia especially iron deficiency anemia from hookworm infestations.
If you or your child have these symptoms and you live in an area with very poor sanitation/hygiene – this is most likely worm infection.
Treatment of worm infestation
If you have worms, Or think you have symptoms that may be worm infection, do not waste time. Go to a pharmacy and ask for mebendazole.
You and your family members should all get treated.
Except for pregnant/breastfeeding women and children under 6months (Pls speak to a doctor).
Should you regularly take deworming tablets? It depends. In places where 20% or more of the people have worm infections, yes you need regular deworming every 6months.
So if worm infections is quite common around you, take Mebendazole every 6months. Other worm expellers are albendazole and pyrantel palmoate (combantrine) for the removal of threadworms.
You and your family members.
But people who have good hygiene and good sanitation measures do NOT have to regularly use deworming tablets.
However as I said earlier, If you ever notice any of the signs of worm infections like very itchy anus, tummy aches and visible worms in your poo, please treat yourself.
How to prevent worms:
Always wash hands with soap and water before eating and when preparing food.
Boil/filter your water.
Avoid dirty unclean eateries.
Cook your own food at home.
Avoid unclean bathrooms or bathing outside.
Peel or cook unwashed vegetables and fruits properly.
Never let children play in areas where there’s a lot of dog or cat poo, never let children play on sand where someone may have poo.
Never walk barefoot in high-risk areas.
Never eat raw or undercooked pork, beef or freshwater fish especially from canteens/places you aren’t sure.