Children who forget hand-washing and other hygiene habits are at risk of parasitic worm infections. Do not take such infections for granted.

Worm infection can make children malnourished and prone to illness. This is the result of the parasites living in the intestinal tract and feeding on nutrition that should have been absorbed by the child’s body.

Intestinal parasites adversely affect the nutritional status of children and adolescents. The parasites damage the mucous membrane leading to poor absorption of nutrients and impaired digestion.

Causes

There are several types of worms that can infect children. Most commonly the roundworms can be transmitted through contaminated soil. The larvae enter the skin and travel to the small intestine. Hence, walking barefoot increases the risk of transmission. Direct ingestion of contaminated uncooked food may likewise infect the body. These worms produce thousands of eggs every day inside the intestines.

Effects

Infected children may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and weight loss. They develop iron deficiency anemia. Besides malnutrition, worm infection can eventually cause stunted growth and impaired cognitive function.

Worms may come out of the child’s anus when they defecate. Parents should check the feces to check for any worm segment.

This disease can be quite dangerous if left untreated; it may claim children’s lives every year.

Treatment

The treatment should begin right away.  The goal is to get rid of the parasites and improve children’s nutrition. Doctors need more than one sample stool to examine since worms don’t appear on every sample.

The doctor might prescribe medications that destroy parasites, such as albendazole and mebendazole. Often times, one dosage is enough. When necessary treatment may be continuous until the intensity of the infection is controlled and reduced.

Intestinal worm infestation can greatly affect children’s lives. It keeps them away from their school and playtime with friends. Most importantly, their overall health may be affected. The infection can be largely prevented by making sure they’re practicing good hygiene.

ManilaMed has expert doctors who can help you know more about malnutrition and worm infestation. Visit ManilaMed’s website or Facebook page.