Helminthiasis is a parasitic disease that is especially common in children. If worms appear in one of the organs or systems of the child's body, then their negative impact will not only affect its functioning, but also affect the work of the immune and nervous systems. Symptoms like cough, lack of appetite, indigestion, allergic reaction may be accompanied by other unrelated symptoms. If you suspect a helminthic invasion, it is important to immediately contact a specialist and not self-medicate.
Why is helminthiasis dangerous?
Most helminthiases of the species most frequently found in children parasitize in the intestine. In it they live and feed, as a result, they reproduce and release toxins. Parasitic worms also mechanically affect the walls of the intestine. The consequence of the active life of worms in a child's body can be:
- Avitaminosis and weight loss. These problems arise due to lack of nutrients and vitamins. As a result, children begin to lag behind in development. Pathological processes can start in other organs.
- Inflammation in the intestines, colitis, dysbacteriosis, bleeding. All these unpleasant and serious complications are caused by mechanical damage caused by worms in children in the body.
- The development of inflammatory processes in the appendix, liver, gallbladder. These are organs adjacent to the intestines that parasites can move to.
- Bowel obstruction. It can be partial or complete, and sometimes there is a risk of rupture of the intestinal wall.
- body intoxication. When worms live and die inside a person, they release aggressive toxins.
- Allergy. The waste products of parasites are considered strong allergens.
- Violation in the functioning of the liver. For this reason, the child has to follow a diet for many years and additionally consume enzymes.
- Psychosis. Helminths tend to have a negative impact on the patient's nervous system.
Types of worms that affect a child's body
There are many types of parasites that can appear in a child's body. They vary in size, being small and large, and they also manifest in different ways and have a different incubation period, which ranges from 1 to 1. 5 months. In order to prescribe effective drugs that will help cure helminthiasis, you need to correctly determine its type. The most common types in children are:
- Ribbon. This type of worm includes cestodes, pygmy tapeworm, tapeworm and echinococcus.
- Ringed. Among them are annelids.
- roundIts representatives are trichinella, pinworms, whipworms, nematodes, roundworms.
- Prickly head. They are represented by scrapers.
- Apartment. Among them are flukes and worms.
Causes and methods of infection
It is possible to get infected with helminthiasis not just in an exotic country or trying an unusual dish on the menu. Playing in the litter box and unwashed hands are the easiest way for worms to enter a child's body. Small children tend to touch and study everything, without thinking about the purity of the subject being studied. After that, they can safely lick their fingers without washing them first. The worms remain viable for a long time (weeks to months), remaining on the surface of various objects.
In addition to dirty hands, the main sources of infection include:
- toys and dirty surfaces;
- entrance grilles;
- raw water;
- dirty vegetables and fruits;
- soil, earth, sand;
- contact with a sick child;
- undercooked meat;
- poorly heat-processed fish or other seafood.
Symptoms of the presence of parasites in children
Usually in children under 1 year of age, any manifestations of the presence of parasites in the body are observed in isolated cases. The first symptoms that signal a helminth infection are recorded at an older age (about 2-3 years) in children attending a kindergarten or other developing organizations.
Helminthiases in children are represented by a huge variety, and each individual type has its own specific characteristics. However, there are several characteristic symptoms of any type of worm:
- irritability and moodiness for no apparent reason;
- restless sleep;
- itching in the anus;
- increased saliva secretion;
- disturbed digestion, accompanied by diarrhea, constipation, nausea and bloating;
- lack of appetite;
- weight loss with good nutrition;
- skin pallor.
In adult children, these symptoms can include:
- stomach discomfort;
- increased fatigue;
- poor concentration.
A disease when parasites such as pinworms enter a child's body is called enterobiasis. This type of helminth is one of the most common in children of preschool age - from 2 to 5 years old. They differ in average sizes, which are 5-13 mm, and minimal damage compared to other types of parasites.
Its presence causes the appearance of the following symptoms:
- Violent itching in the anus. Its intensity can reach such force that the child will not sleep well, scratching the anus, causing irritation and inflammation.
- Urinary incontinence during night sleep. Seen in girls. This happens if the worms from the anus get into the urethra. As a result, the baby begins to develop urethritis, vaginitis, or cystitis.
Pinworms are easy to get rid of and are not as dangerous as other types of worms. It is important in time, when the first signs appear, to consult a doctor and pass the necessary tests. If worms were found in a child, the parents also need treatment. All clothes, towels, and other rags should be washed and ironed, and the room thoroughly washed, as the eggs of these worms are found on every surface in the infected person's home.
The second most common in children are roundworms of large sizes up to 40 cm, living in the small intestine - roundworms. In addition to the general symptoms of helminthiasis, in the case of ascaris, an infected person at the initial stage develops an irrational cough in the absence of inflammatory processes in the respiratory tract. Its appearance is due to the fact that the larvae of this type of parasite enter the lungs and upper respiratory tract and, through coughing, re-enter the stomach.
Other characteristic features include:
- headache and dizziness;
- enlarged lymph nodes;
- elevated temperature;
- intestinal disorders.
At the same time, itching on the buttocks with roundworms is absent. Not just the intestines, but also any other organ or system in the body can become a habitat.
Whipworm (mustache head)
These parasites in children are worms with a very thin body, the length of which reaches 5 cm. The female whipworm can lay up to 2, 000 eggs at a time. Generally, these helminths are more common in adolescence and appear much less frequently in young children.
A distinguishing feature of trichuriasis is the almost complete absence of any signs of helminthic invasion. Possible symptoms include:
- disturbances in the work of the nervous system (irritability, headaches);
- problems with the digestive system, accompanied by diarrhea, nausea or vomiting;
- increase in body temperature.
Signs of other parasites
Among other types of worms that can occur in children, they can be distinguished:
- Hymenolepiasis or pygmy rat tapeworm. He has no specific symptoms. Its presence can be recognized by nausea, loss of appetite, heartburn, diarrhea and constipation, headache, pain in the abdomen, increased salivation, dizziness, fatigue, skin rashes, allergic rhinitis and bronchospasm.
- Opisthorchiasis or Siberian cat worm. These worms in a child cause subfebrile temperature, rashes, swollen lymph nodes, pain in the joints and right hypochondrium, pancreatitis, gastritis and other signs of digestive tract malfunction, permanent catarrhal syndrome and much more.
- Toxocariasis. Transmitted through animals. The main symptoms are an allergic cough with choking and skin rashes, characterized by intense itching.
- wide range. The source of infection is not fried or boiled fish. Symptoms include abdominal pain, an allergic reaction, B12 deficiency anemia, and other common signs of a bowel disorder.
How to check if your child has worms?
In most cases, it is difficult for parents to associate specific symptoms with helminthiasis or to understand why a child suddenly experiences vomiting or other symptoms for no apparent reason. At the slightest suspicion of the appearance of worms, specialists should be sought and tests performed, which facilitate the verification of the assumption of helminthic invasion. It will not take much time and effort, but the reason for the baby's illness will be exactly clear, and it will be possible to carry out treatment in a timely manner.
Self-diagnosis is a careful monitoring of changes in behavior, development, habits, routine and normal state of the child - both physical and emotional-psychological.
- periodic stool examination for the presence of worms;
- monitor the frequency of trips to the bathroom;
- examining the skin for a rash, redness, or irritation;
- check the amount of food consumed.
Medical diagnosis is necessary to confirm the diagnosis if the worms were detected visually or only if helminthic invasion is suspected. To find out the cause of the symptoms, you need to do a series of tests, which include:
- Fecal analysis. In it, you can find eggs or parts of already mature worms. The effectiveness of the method is maximum during the period when there are already mature individuals in the intestine, that is, approximately 3 weeks to a month after infection. Fecal material should be collected in the morning and sent to the laboratory.
- A spot or scrape from the anus. To do this, use a dry cotton swab dipped in glycerin or masking tape. The analysis makes it possible to identify the worm larvae that have settled on the skin areas of the anus.
- General blood analysis. Patients with helminthiasis in the blood may have an increased number of immune cells, a high rate of erythrocyte sedimentation and a reduced level of hemoglobin.
- ELISA blood test. It allows detecting parasites at an early stage with the help of staining enzymes that attract worms, viruses and other foreign bodies.
Additional tests for parasites in a child that can be done on an outpatient basis include:
- analysis of the presence of IgG antibodies;
- ultrasound procedure;
Features of drug treatment
The appointment of drugs to fight parasites in a child should be treated by a doctor after passing all the necessary tests and establishing an accurate diagnosis and type of worms. Among the most common drugs against helminthic invasion, it should be noted:
- An anthelmintic drug that acts on nematodes. Acceptance is allowed from 6 months. Effective against all types of roundworms, but useless in the case of annoying parasites.
- Anthelmintic drug of the benzimidazole group. Appointed 2-3 years. Dosage is determined at the rate of 10 mg per kilogram of body weight.
- Antiprotozoal and antimicrobial drug from the group of nitroimidazoles. Suitable for any age according to which the daily dose is determined.
- Anthelmintic drug of the benzimidazole group. For children from 2 years against worms.
What folk remedies can help?
In addition to medicines, worms can be treated with folk remedies.
The most popular products that can provide effective treatment for worms in children are:
- Garlic. It successfully destroys roundworms, tapeworms, worms and deals with many other varieties of parasites. Suitable for children from 5 years old and with a healthy stomach. It should be given 1 clove before meals once a day. It can be taken with water or milk. Garlic is also an excellent antiviral agent.
- Pumpkin seeds. They should be consumed on an empty stomach and raw. Children usually like this treatment. Otherwise, they can be crushed and mixed with honey if the child is not allergic to honey.
- Sagebrush. Allowed for children from 12 years old. To simplify the reception, it must be mixed with a piece of bread and salt.
- Fresh carrot juice. Enough half a cup on an empty stomach once a day for 7-10 days. You can also nibble on raw carrots.
- Beet juice. It is administered on an empty stomach. It is advisable to alternate it with carrots, so as not to provoke a violation of the stool.
- Nuts. A few pieces a day will be enough for a child.
- A pineapple. Fresh fruit, not canned, is a tasty and effective remedy.
- citrus. To your "companion" you can add sour-tasting berries and fruits.
Regardless of the type of worm, prevention comes down to observing basic personal hygiene rules:
- Washed food. All vegetables, fruits and berries should be washed well before eating. As an additional measure, the products can be immersed in boiling water.
- Clean Hands. You need to wash them before eating, after walking, visiting the hospital and staying in public places, after going to the toilet and playing with animals, even pets.
- Deworming of pets. It must be done at least 2 times a year.
- Boiled or filtered water for drinking. It is forbidden to drink water from open reservoirs. Swimming in them should also be avoided to prevent splashing water from entering the mouth. Salt lakes and seas are an exception.
- Regular prevention with the help of folk remedies.
- Take care of old and new toys. Soft toys should be washed periodically, plastics and plastics should be washed with boiled water. The new ones, before giving to a child, must be poured with boiling water without fail.
- No bugs! Flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches carry helminth eggs on their paws. It is important to prevent them from entering the house. To do this, you can use fumigators, sticky tape and special crayons.
- Exclusion from the child's diet of fish and meat dishes that require low roasting of animal products.
- Stool analysis once a year. This procedure will help to detect worms at an early stage.