Intestinal worms can be very troublesome keeping in mind that they affect your digestive system. Intestinal worms or parasitic worms are organisms that feed on human body. These worms get inside your body by mouth, nose or ears and spread very quickly. Intestinal worms affect children the most as they are most vulnerable to get infected. This is because they spend a majority of time touching different objects which might contain parasites which affect children’s health. There are many varieties of worms that can affect gut of a child like tapeworms and hookworms etc. Today we will discuss about how intestinal worms affect gut health of children and symptoms one must remain aware of.
Intestinal Worms in Children
Parasitic worms that are types of intestinal parasites affect children in different ways. We have Dr. Priya Mittal, Paediatric Consultant in Ivory Hospital, Greater Noida to tell us about intestinal worms affecting children. The major threat from these parasites is the gut health. A variety of gut disorder can occur because of these parasites. Children are comparatively easy target as they have weaker immune system and touch many surfaces where there is a risk of these diseases. Intestinal worms are also caused because of unhygienic circumstances like-
- Eating unhygienic or stale food
- Drinking dirty or contaminated water
- Living under unhygienic circumstances
- Sharing food or bed with a person affected with some parasite worms
What Are Symptoms of Having Intestinal Worms In Children?
If your child has parasitic infection in his intestine, they there is a vast change in his behaviour, he may face issues while walking, running or doing any activity. Getting infected with parasitic worms can also cause terrible pain, which may affect his studies and mental health. However is some cases, the infection in intestine spreads without giving any major symptoms to determine this problem. Here are some common symptoms that are evident in intestinal infections-
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Unexpected weight loss
- Tenderness in stomach
- Uneasiness in doing regular activities
A child that is affected by intestinal worms in his intestine may also experience symptoms of dysentery. This happens when the infection caused by parasites causes diarrhoea and later mixes up with mucus in the stool. It can create rashes and itching around rectum or vulva and may affect your bowel movements adversely.
Causes of Intestinal Worms among Children
There are different causes that can affect children and their gut health. Becoming infected with parasitic worms occurs because of various reasons. Some reasons were told by doctor above. However there are some other common causes that result in growth of intestinal worms in children. These causes include-
- Poor sanitization
- Poor hygiene
- Having infected meat or undercooked meat
- Contact with contaminated faeces
- Coming in contact with soil that is infected with parasites
- Consuming dirty contaminated water
- Touching contaminated surfaces and putting hand in mouth
Different types of worm get transmitted to the children in different ways; their causes can also differ accordingly. For example roundworms are generally transmitted through contaminated soil or contaminated faeces. They reproduce and grow inside the intestine and become larger in size. As they become larger in size, symptoms may become more evident and challenging. Hence it is best to consult a doctor when you observe changes in your child’s behaviour.
Diagnosis for Intestinal Worms in Children
There are several tests to find out about different types of parasite infections. If you have taken your child to a place where there were issues with hygiene, then you must visit a doctor once. For finding out type of intestinal worm in children, doctor may take sample of your stool to confirm presence of parasite in the intestine.
Other way is to conduct a “scotch test”. This process or test involves having anus taped several times to retrieve pinworm infection or eggs. It can be identified under a microscope. If these two general methods do not work, then a blood test is conducted. Tests are conducted with blood sample of the child and X-ray is also taken to further know the type of intestinal infection.
Prevention Tips for Intestinal Worms in Children
Here are some tips that you can follow in order to protect your child from having parasitic infection in their intestines.
- Avoid eating fish and meat that is not kept in hygienic circumstances
- Cook meals thoroughly and temperature should be more than 145 degree Fahrenheit
- Keep the cooked meal for 2-3 minutes before consuming or opening the cooker
- Whenever you are eating meat or fish, keep it inside a deep freezer below -20 degree Celsius to kill the worms if they are present.
- Wash your vegetables and fruits etc. thoroughly before giving it to your children
- Wash anything that falls on the floor or throw it if it cannot be washed
- Make unhygienic or contaminated surfaces out of reach from your children
- Give only purified water to your children for drinking or boil it well.
Read More Articles on Children’s Health