Helminth infection is one of the most common childhood diseases. According to official statistics, more than 20 million people are affected by helminthic infestations, 80% of which are children. Symptoms of the presence of worms in the body are not always pronounced. Consider what are the main signs of helminth infection in children, the methods of their treatment and preventive measures.
Types of helminths
There are more than three hundred types of worms. All of them can be divided into three groups:
- Nematodes (pinworms, roundworms, whipworms).
- Tapeworms (bovine tapeworms, swine tapeworms).
- Trematode worms (felines and Siberian flukes).
Most of the time, children have worms that belong to the first group. Among them:
- Roundworms are long worms with pointed ends. The color can be different: from pink to yellow. Adults parasitize the small intestine. Roundworms reproduce at high speed: the female can lay up to 240 thousand eggs per day;
- Intestinal worms: they belong to round and small worms. They are usually white or yellowish in color. Females lay eggs near the anus and on the perineum. The eggs become infectious after a few hours.
- Vlasoglavs are round worms with thin front ends, with which they can pierce the intestinal wall. At the same time, whipworms become saturated with their blood and poison the other organs with their waste. The secretions are absorbed into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body.
Important! Sometimes parents do not even suspect that helminths have settled on the body of their children. In the chronic stage, the disease can be asymptomatic.
Experienced doctors say that with a thorough examination, worms can be found even in an apparently healthy child.
How Children Get Infected
Fundamentally wrong will be the opinion that worm infection is due to insufficient child care. Helminth infestation cases are not uncommon in the most affluent and well-cared for children. The main source of infection is dirty hands. An active child learns the world around him and spends a lot of time outdoors, in the garden, on the playground, and in the sandbox. These are places of significant accumulation of worm eggs. Cases of infection from animals with which children love to play are frequent.
Unwashed vegetables and fruits are another hazard. Especially those species whose fruits are in contact with the ground, such as strawberries, should not be eaten unwashed.
Important! You should not think that peeled fruits (bananas, tangerines, oranges) will be absolutely safe. Before eating, they should be washed as thoroughly as other fruits.
You can become infected with worms by eating fresh cow's or goat's milk. If the animal has been kept in conditions that do not meet hygienic standards, it is not surprising that the parasites have settled in its milk. Another cause of worms can be meat and fish that have not been cooked properly.
Infection cannot be avoided if the child has not developed hand hygiene habits before meals and after bathing. Bad habits of nail biting, finger sucking, biting the tip of a pen or pencil are not at all harmless, as it seems at first glance, since a child's hands are not always clean enough. It is absolutely unacceptable for a child to pet or handle stray cats or dogs.
All signs of manifestation of worm infection can be divided into general and specific, which are characteristic of certain types of parasites. The presence of general intoxication in the body of children can be judged by the general manifestations of worm lesions:
- stool disorders (constipation, diarrhea);
- frequent dizziness, nausea, bad breath;
- acute weight loss due to the fact that parasites absorb most of the nutrients from food;
- dermatological diseases (skin rash, papillomas, diathesis, brittle nails);
- nervous system disorders (bad mood, crying, lack of sleep and chronic fatigue of the child);
- low hemoglobin levels;
- immunity disorders, leading to frequent viral diseases;
- low resistance to respiratory diseases (sinusitis, nasal polyps, adenoids);
- allergic reactions.
Important! Routine prophylactic vaccination can be a sign of the presence of parasites. If accompanied by severe allergic reactions, a visit to a parasitologist is necessary!
Signs of pinworm infestation
Doting parents want to know what worms look like in a child's stool. Usually pinworms in a pot or near a child's anus can only be seen in advanced cases. As a general rule, it is rarely possible to see them with the naked eye. But an attentive mother will always pay attention to the following symptoms:
- itching of the anus;
- pain in the abdomen, especially around the navel;
- drooling, nausea;
- anxiety of a child who often wakes up or fidgets while sleeping;
- grinding teeth during sleep (no definitive medical evidence).
If a child itches in the anus, especially at night, this causes parasites to enter the hands and then the skin of the entire body. As a result, inflammatory skin diseases are possible. Combing the anus is also dangerous because it contributes to reinfection by pinworms when the child, without washing his hands, takes food, toys or puts them in his mouth.
Young girls are at increased risk of pinworms entering the external genitalia, where females crawl from the anus. This infection is accompanied by urinary incontinence and profuse discharge from the genitals. Lack of proper treatment can cause a noticeable delay in the growth and physical development of the child.
Symptoms of damage to roundworms and whipworms
Unlike common roundworms in temperate climates, roundworms prefer warm, humid air. Ascaris infection is suspected when a child, in the absence of respiratory disease, begins to suffer from a dry cough, which intensifies at night. This is due to the fact that parasites move throughout the body. Other symptoms include a rash on the body, fever, pale skin, and dark circles under the eyes. With a severe form of the disease, inflammation of the gallbladder, nervous disorders and epileptic seizures are possible.
Whipworm infection is usually slow or asymptomatic, but bloody diarrhea, anemia, and delayed physical development can occur.
Diagnosis of helminthiasis
If a child is suspected of being infected, a series of tests and studies is necessary. Diagnostic methods will determine the type of parasite. The child needs to pass:
- stool analysis for worm eggs - you need to take it with a break of several days;
- analysis of dysbiosis - establishes the difference between the indicator of E. coli and the norm;
- a general blood test to determine the level of iron in the body;
- scraping for pinworms.
Important! A single test for the presence of helminths in the stool in many cases does not detect parasites in the child's body. Reexamination of the stool is of great importance.
Since pinworms and roundworms die rapidly outside the human body, stool tests for helminths are recommended as soon as possible after a bowel movement. Scraping for pinworms should be done at least once a year. It is mandatory when a child enters a kindergarten, school or hospital.
To eliminate the risk of parasites entering other internal organs, ultrasound scans, endoscopic examinations, and computed tomography are performed.
Features of the disease with worms in a baby
Worm infection in children usually occurs after 1 year. This is a period of active knowledge of the world, when the baby loves to study the objects around him, savor them. However, cases of helminth infection are also found in infants. These diseases are considered a very serious problem, causing enormous damage to the still defenseless organism.
One of the main causes of the disease is helminth infection in the uterus. If the expectant mother is a carrier of worms, her larvae during pregnancy can enter the fetus through the placenta. Infection can occur during the baby's passage through the mother's birth canal. Thus, as soon as it is born, the baby is already a carrier of worms.
The risk of helminth infection in a baby increases when the baby begins to crawl. If the house has pets, the basic rules of hygiene are not observed, then it is easy for a baby to accumulate all kinds of bacteria and parasites on her body.
It is much more difficult to make an effective diagnosis in infancy than in a child from 1 year of age. Signs of helminthiasis in babies can be defecation disorders, swelling around the anus and around the lips in girls, poor appetite and weight loss, irritability and anxiety. Even in the case of a negligible probability of infection, you need to show the child to a doctor and conduct the necessary tests.
In most cases, treatment for helminthiasis takes some time. The child should be taken to a pediatrician, parasitologist, and pediatric gastroenterologist. Drug treatment is carried out in three stages: a period to remove toxins from the body, a course of anthelmintic therapy, and a subsequent cleansing and strengthening program.
Before using antiparasitic agents, children are prescribed sorbents for general cleansing of the body and antihistamines to relieve inflammation and manifestations of allergies. This is followed by taking anthelmintic medications.
Important! Preparations for worms are toxic, so they can only be taken as prescribed by a doctor, observing the prescribed dosage! Do not use strong drugs for prophylaxis!
When prescribing medications, the age of the child, the severity of the disease and the risk of side effects should be taken into account.
Pill formulations can be given to older children who can already swallow the pill. It is not uncommon for a child to refuse to swallow the pill or spit it out. Do not crush or crush the pill. You can try giving it to your child during play or with food. For babies and one-year-olds, drugs in the form of a medicinal suspension are more suitable. Antiparasitic agents act according to the following scheme: the first method destroys the adult helminths and the next prevents the maturation and reproduction of the larvae.
Side effects usually indicate the death of parasites under the influence of the drug. To eliminate them, you can take activated charcoal. But this should not be done before 24 hours, otherwise the effect of the anthelmintic agent will be reduced. In some cases, complex antiparasitic courses may be prescribed, which include various drugs. Anthelmintic agents have several contraindications. They are not prescribed for children with malignant tumors, certain blood diseases, and liver dysfunctions.
To eliminate severe itching in the anus, anesthetics are prescribed, which relieve the sensation of irritation and burning. Zinc oxide in combination with beeswax or glycerin reduces itching and creates a protective film in the anal area.
Important! Along with drug treatment, it is necessary to carry out a general cleaning of the house. To do this, you need to carefully wash and iron bedding, process the child's things and toys, and destroy cockroaches and bedbugs in the home.
During treatment, special attention is paid to diet. Protein foods, fermented dairy products are recommended. Foods rich in fiber are beneficial for normal digestion and timely bowel movements. It is better to exclude sweets and baked goods from the diet.
How to eliminate parasites at home.
Home remedies are featured in many recipes that allow you to get rid of worms at home. Treatment with folk remedies helps not only to get rid of worms, but also has a beneficial effect on the vital activity of the child's organs. Consider the most effective traditional medicine.
With the help of an enema, the decomposition products of helminths can be expelled from the intestines, which, even after death, continue to infect the child's body. It is recommended to add a few cloves of garlic and a teaspoon of salt to the water for the procedure. This watery solution is best absorbed from the intestines. Before the procedure, the mixture is boiled and cooled to 36 degrees. The garlic water enemas are also suitable for the little ones. During the procedure, there is a risk of helminths moving through the intestines. To avoid this, it is recommended to drink plenty of fluids before placing the enema.
To expel the worms, you can add garlic to the hot milk, pour the mixture into a pot, and seat the baby on it. The worms will crawl under the influence of the garlic fumes. When performing such a procedure, you need to be very careful not to burn the baby's skin.
Tansy has earned a reputation as an excellent remedy for pinworms and pinworms due to its toxic essential oils. They are used successfully to expel parasites from the human body. The only caveat: for successful treatment, a large dose is required, which is designed for adults. On the question of whether it is possible to give tansy to children as an anthelmintic agent, it is impossible to get a definitive answer. The remedy has a fairly long list of side effects: nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, seizures.
Important! A decoction of tansy can be prescribed only to a child of at least 10 years old, whose weight is at least 30 kg. It is dangerous for preschoolers to take tansy instead of worms.
This simple tool has been known since ancient times and was used by our ancestors. Pumpkin seeds, so loved by many, act as an excellent remedy for parasites. Instead of seeds, you can give pumpkin seed oil, which is sold in pharmacies. It is taken half an hour before meals. For young children who don't know how to eat seeds yet, you can cook pumpkin broth. For this, the seeds are crushed, poured with boiling water and kept in a water bath. The resulting liquid is infused for 24 hours and drunk after straining.
Pour boiling water over the chopped onion and infuse for 12 hours. This infusion is drunk for several days. Onions and garlic are good for regular meals.
Carrot juice is considered the most popular in treating worms. It certainly must be freshly squeezed. Useful beet, pomegranate and cabbage juices, as well as rosehip infusions. However, you need to understand that it is impossible to get rid of helminths only with juices. Therefore, its use on an empty stomach is considered part of a comprehensive therapy against helminths.
Natural vegetable oils
Hemp, linseed and cedar oil have antiparasitic properties. They are completely safe for babies. You can moisten a cotton ball in oil and apply it to your child's anus at night. Through this action, the pinworm eggs are destroyed, which the female lays during the child's sleep.
Doctor on the treatment of worms.
In his television speeches, the famous doctor notes that it is possible to achieve success in the treatment of worms only with the help of modern drugs. Parents are strongly advised by the doctor not to self-medicate and to consult a specialist in a timely manner.
In this case, it is important to determine what kind of worms attacked the baby, and which of the drugs will have the most effective effect on him. Of the home remedies, a well-known doctor advises pumpkin seeds, recommending a dose of 300 grams at a time. But the gnashing of teeth in a dream as a sign of helminthic invasion, the specialist considers an idle fiction.
Helminthic diseases prevention.
To minimize the probability of infection by parasites, preventive measures should be followed:
- make sure the child washes his hands as often as possible, especially before meals and after bathing;
- do not drink raw water;
- do not eat raw meat and fish;
- wash vegetables and fruits well;
- do not allow the child to touch stray dogs and cats with their hands, and regularly give pets anthelmintic drugs;
- wash the child's toys daily;
- cutting short nails, under which parasite eggs usually accumulate;
- observe personal hygiene and cleanliness of the home;
- in the fall and spring, do anthelmintic prophylaxis with the whole family.
Compliance with all the rules is not an absolute guarantee of protection against parasites, but it significantly reduces the risk of infection and its serious consequences.