Tapeworm is not the only worm that affects our digestive system, there are several types of worms that can cause problems, including whip worms, thread worms, hook worms and round-worms.
Here’s how you can get infected
- Walking barefoot in the garden, playground or any infected soil; for example, hookworm larvae burrow through the skin of bare feet.
- Ingesting worm eggs through eating fruits, vegetables, grains, fish and meat contaminated with roundworm or whip worm.
- Washing fruits and vegetables with contaminated water.
- Transfer of the parasitic worms from pets to owner.
- 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. Open air defecation also increases the risk of worm infestation.
Signs and symptoms of worm infestation
Signs and symptoms are more or less same for children and adults, except that children are more likely to develop abdominal symptoms, as they have smaller intestines so the risk of blockage is higher. Your doctor will prescribe deworming pills when you or your child have the symptoms such as –
- Worms in stool
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Wheezing or cough
- Itchy bottom
- Disturbed sleep
- Irritability and general weakness
- More severe infestations can cause –
- Abdominal distention (swelling)
- Severe abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss (in cases of tapeworm infestation)
- Anaemia (in cases of hookworm infestation)
Deworming for infants and children ‘A worm infestation can cause stomach pain and vomiting. It affects normal growth and can cause malnutrition in children. That is the reason doctors recommend deworming your baby every six months after he turns one. Deworming medication kills adult worms but not the eggs. So repeating the dose every six months is vital.