Worms in children is a serious concern in children since they take the nutrients of the child leading to malnourishment. Some worms can cause serious problems like intestinal obstruction
The common worms found in children are
- Round worms (Ascariasis).
- Hook worms.
- Pin worms or thread worms.
Signs and symptoms of worm infestation
- Weight loss.
- Increased appetite.
- Anal itching.
- Abdominal pain.
- Ball of worms can be palpated during abdominal examination.
- Worms coming out through the stools.
Spread of worms
- Contaminated food, water and soil are main source of worm transportation.
- It is spread through contaminated food and water. Hook worms are transmitted through skin. Children who walk in bare foot get hook worm infestation easily.
- Tape worm infestations are caused by eating uncooked or partially cooked meat.
- Pin worms produces eggs which are carried away through the dust, clothing, bedding, towels etc.
- Medical history.
- Physical examination.
- Ultrasound scan of abdomen.
- Stool examination for ova and cyst.
- Taking boiled water for consumption.
- Consuming properly cooked food.
- The bed sheets, towels and clothes are to be washed with disinfectants.
- Avoid allowing the child to play in the soil and walking in barefoot.
- The anal region should be washed thoroughly and any stool particles should be cleaned thoroughly.
- Deworm the child every 6 months using anti-helminthics.
- Practice good hygiene. Ascariasis is spread by ingesting parasite eggs from contaminated soil. Before handling food, always wash your hands with soap and water, and wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
- Use care when traveling. Ascariasis is the most common roundworm infection in the world, with higher infection rates in developing and warm-climate countries. When traveling, use only bottled water and avoid raw vegetables unless you can peel and wash them yourself. As a rule, eat only foods that are cooked and hot.
Complications of worm infestations
- Nutritional deficiencies: Children with worms are more prone for nutritional deficiencies due to loss of appetite and the parasites take nourishment from host’s body.
- Intestinal obstruction and perforation: The mass of worms can entangle to form ball of worms causing worm infestation. The blockage can lead to intestinal perforation causing hemorrhage and appendicitis.
- Allergic reactions: Some kids can develop allergic reactions to the worm/s secretions and excretions or to the dead or dying worms leading to symptoms like asthma, insomnia, eye pain, rashes.