Infection with helminths is one of the most common childhood diseases. According to official statistics, more than 20 million people are affected by helminthic infestations, 80% of whom are children. Symptoms of the presence of worms in the body are not always pronounced. Consider what are the main signs of infection with helminths in children, methods of their treatment and preventive measures.
Types of helminths
There are more than 3 hundred types of worms. All of them can be divided into three groups:
- Nematodes (pinworms, roundworms, whipworms).
- Tape worms (bovine tapeworm, pork tapeworm).
- Fluke worms (cat and Siberian fluke).
Most often, children have worms belonging 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 breed at high speed - the female is able to lay up to 240 thousand eggs per day;
- Pinworms - belong to round worms and small sizes. They are usually white or yellowish in color. Females lay eggs near the anus and in the perineum. The eggs become infectious after a few hours.
- Vlasoglavs are round worms with thin front ends, with which they are able to pierce the intestinal wall. At the same time, whipworms are saturated with his blood and poison the rest of the 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 in their child's body. In the chronic stage, the disease may be asymptomatic.
Experienced doctors say that with a thorough examination, worms can be found even in an outwardly healthy child.
How children get infected
Fundamentally wrong will be the opinion that infection with worms occurs from insufficient child care. Cases of infestation by helminths are not uncommon in the most prosperous and well-groomed 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. There are frequent cases of infection from animals with which children love to play.
Unwashed vegetables and fruits are another danger. Especially those species whose fruits are in contact with the ground, such as strawberries, should not be eaten unwashed.
Important! You shouldn't 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 or goat milk. If the animal has been kept in conditions that do not meet hygienic standards, it is not surprising that parasites have settled in its milk. Another cause of worms can be meat and fish that have not been properly cooked.
Infection cannot be avoided if the child has not developed hand hygiene habits before meals and after the restroom. Bad habits of biting nails, sucking fingers, 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 infection with worms 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;
- sharp weight loss due to the fact that parasites absorb most of the nutrients from food;
- dermatological diseases (skin rash, papillomas, diathesis, brittle nails);
- disorders of the nervous system (moodiness, tearfulness, poor sleep and chronic fatigue of the child);
- low hemoglobin levels;
- disorders of immunity, which leads to frequent viral diseases;
- low resistance to respiratory diseases (sinusitis, nasal polyps, adenoids);
- allergic reactions.
Important! The usual prophylactic vaccination can be a signal of the presence of parasites. If it is accompanied by severe allergic reactions, a visit to a parasitologist is necessary!
Signs of pinworm infestation
Caring parents want to know what worms look like in a child's feces. Usually pinworms in a pot or near a child's anus can be seen only in advanced cases. As a 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 in his sleep;
- teeth grinding during sleep (no definitive medical evidence).
If a child itches in the anus, especially at night, this leads to parasites getting on the hands, and later on the skin of the whole body. As a result, inflammatory diseases of the skin are possible. Combing the anus is also dangerous in that it contributes to re-infection with pinworms when the child, without washing his hands, takes food, toys, or pulls them into his mouth.
Young girls have an increased risk of pinworms entering the external genitals, where females crawl from the anus. This infection is accompanied by urinary incontinence and heavy discharge from the genitals. Lack of proper treatment can lead to a noticeable delay in the child's growth and physical development.
Symptoms of damage to roundworms and whipworms
Unlike pinworms common in temperate climates, roundworms prefer warm and humid air. Ascaris infection is suspected when a child, in the absence of a respiratory illness, 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.
Infection with whipworms is usually sluggish or asymptomatic, but bloody diarrhea, anemia, and delayed physical development may occur.
Diagnostics of helminthiasis
If a child is suspected of being infected, it is necessary to carry out a series of tests and studies. Diagnostic methods will determine the type of parasite. The child needs to pass:
- analysis of feces for eggs of worms - you need to take it with a break of several days;
- analysis for dysbiosis - establishes the difference between the indicator of E. coli from the norm;
- a general blood test to determine the level of iron in the body;
- scraping for pinworms.
Important! A single analysis for the presence of helminths in the feces in many cases does not detect parasites in the child's body. Re-examination of feces is of great importance.
Since pinworms and roundworms quickly die outside the human body, it is recommended to take stool analysis for the presence of helminths as soon as possible after a bowel movement. Scraping for pinworms must be carried out at least once a year. It is compulsory when a child enters a kindergarten, school or hospital.
In order to eliminate the risk of parasites entering other internal organs, ultrasound, endoscopic examinations, and computed tomography are performed.
Features of the disease with worms in an infant
Usually, infection with worms in children occurs after 1 year. This is a period of active knowledge of the world, when the baby loves to study the objects around him, tasting them. However, cases of infection with helminths are also found in infants. Such diseases are regarded as a very serious problem, causing enormous harm to the still defenseless organism.
One of the main causes of the disease is infection with helminths while still in the womb. If the expectant mother herself is a carrier of worms, their larvae during pregnancy can enter the fetus through the placenta. Infection can occur during the passage of the baby through the mother's birth canal. Thus, barely born, the baby is already a carrier of worms.
The risk of infection with helminths in an infant increases when the baby begins to crawl. If the house contains pets, basic hygiene rules are not observed, then it is easy for a baby to collect all kinds of bacteria and parasites in her body.
It is much more difficult to carry out an effective diagnosis in infancy than in a child from 1 year of age and older. Signs of helminthiasis in infants can be defecation disorders, inflammation around the anus and around the labia in girls, poor appetite and weight loss, irritability and anxiety. Even in the case of an insignificant likelihood of infection, you need to show the child to a doctor and make the necessary tests.
In most cases, the treatment of helminthiasis takes some time. The child should be taken to a pediatrician, parasitologist and pediatric gastroenterologist. Drug treatment takes place in three stages: a period of ridding the body of toxins, a course of anthelmintic therapy and a subsequent cleansing and strengthening program.
Preparations for worms
Before using antiparasitic agents, children are prescribed sorbents for general cleaning 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 must be taken into account.
Tablet formulations can be given to older children who are already able to 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-old children, drugs in the form of a medicinal suspension are more suitable. Antiparasitic agents act according to the following scheme: the first method destroys adult helminths, and the next one prevents the maturation and reproduction of larvae.
Side effects usually indicate the death of parasites under the influence of the drug. To eliminate them, you can take activated carbon. But this should be done no earlier than after 24 hours, otherwise the effect of the antihelminthic agent will be reduced. In some cases, complex antiparasitic courses may be prescribed, which include several drugs. Antihelminthic agents have a number of 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 feeling 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 wash and carefully iron the bed linen, process the child's things and toys, and destroy cockroaches and bedbugs in the home.
During treatment, special attention is paid to diet. Protein food, fermented milk products are recommended. Foods high 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 remove parasites at home
Folk remedies are presented in many recipes that allow you to remove worms at home. Treatment with folk remedies helps not only 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 decay products of helminths can be expelled from the intestines, which, even after their 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. Such an aqueous solution is better absorbed into the intestines. Before the procedure, the mixture is boiled and cooled to 36 degrees. Enemas with garlic water are also suitable for the smallest children. 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 setting the enema.
To expel worms, you can add garlic to hot milk, pour the mixture into a pot and sit the baby on it. The worms will crawl out under the influence of the garlic fumes. When carrying out 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 roundworms due to its essential toxic oils. They are successfully used 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 antihelminthic agent, it is impossible to get a definite answer. The remedy has a rather long list of side effects: nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, convulsions.
Important! A decoction of tansy can be prescribed only to a child at least 10 years old, whose weight is at least 30 kg. It is dangerous for preschool children to take tansy for worms.
This simple tool has been known since ancient times and was used by our ancestors. Pumpkin seeds, so beloved 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 small children who still do not know how to eat seeds, 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 the treatment of worms. It must certainly be freshly squeezed. Useful juices from beets, pomegranates and cabbage, as well as rosehip infusions. However, you need to understand that it is impossible to get rid of helminths with juices alone. Therefore, their use on an empty stomach is considered as 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 piece of cotton wool in oil and apply it to the child's anus at night. By this action, the eggs of pinworms are destroyed, which the female lays during the sleep of the child.
Doctor about 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 medicines. The doctor strongly advises parents not to self-medicate and consult a specialist in a timely manner.
In this case, it is important to determine which type of worms attacked the baby and which of the drugs will have the most effective effect on him. From folk 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.
Prevention of helminthic diseases
To minimize the likelihood of infection with parasites, preventive measures should be followed:
- make sure that the child washes his hands as often as possible, especially before meals and after the restroom;
- do not drink raw water;
- do not eat raw meat and fish;
- wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly;
- do not allow the child to touch stray dogs and cats with his hands, and give pets regularly antihelminthic drugs;
- wash the child's toys daily;
- cut short nails, under which parasite eggs usually accumulate;
- observe personal hygiene and cleanliness of the home;
- in the autumn and spring, undergo antihelminthic 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.