5 Simple ways to prevent Worm Infections in kids?
Worm infestation in the intestine is one of the common health issues that affect the health of children. Every parent takes that extra precaution to ensure that their child is protected. From giving only boiled and/or bottled water to multiple rounds of washing fruits and vegetables, everything is done. Despite these, when the child begins to complain of stomach aches, there is fear of a worm infection. Here are a few useful tips to prevent the infestation of worms in your child.
Worm infections are a reality, and a child can get a worm infection by one of the following routes.
- By eating unclean/undercooked/infected food: There could be eggs of these worms on vegetables and fruits, and if not washed thoroughly, chances of infection are high. Also, if seafood such as fish is infected with these, improper cooking of these can lead to infections.
- Walking barefoot on infected soil: This is the most common way to get worm infections when children walk barefoot in damp soil.
- Drinking contaminated water: Some worms breed in water bodies like lakes and puddles. Playing in these areas or eating with hands contaminated in these areas can lead to infection.
- Contact with an infected person: Either through unclean hands or fingernails contact of an infected person, the worm infection can reach the child.
Whatever the source, once these worms enter the body, they multiply and continue to grow in the child.
Symptoms that are commonly seen in children are as below.
- Refusal to eat, both due to stomach pain and the loss of appetite
- Weight loss, due to reduced food intake. Additionally, the worms consume a large portion of the consumed food, reducing what is available for the child
- Anemia, which is especially with hookworms
- Blood in stools
- Itching around the anus, from where the worms could have entered the body
- Skin rashes or urticaria
- Sleep disturbances, due to the above symptoms
- Frequent urination or pain during urination
Stool testing is done to confirm the presence of worms.
The good news is that treating worm infections is quite easy and simple. A course of anti-parasitic or anti-worm medicine (most commonly used being albendazole) is often used to get rid of the worms.
- Deworming is termed as the process of removing a present inside the intestine by giving antiparasitic medication at regular intervals. WHO recommends 6 monthly deworming for children and adolescents under the age group of 1-19 years in countries like India. Please take deworming medicine only after consulting your doctor.
- Keep your surroundings clean. Don’t let your child walk barefoot on the soil, ask them to wear slippers or shoes while playing outdoors.
- Make sure your child practices healthy habits and maintains hygiene. Most important is to wash hands before and after taking food, going to the washroom, or after entering the home from outdoors.
- Wash the raw vegetables & fruits properly before your child consumes them. This will helps in removing the eggs of the worms which are often attached to the soil on the vegetables.
- Let your child always have boiled clean water. Cut their nails regularly. Keep them short and clean as soil may get stuck in the nails, and with it eggs of the worm can go into your child’s body.