Some people have never been dewormed before in their lifetime. Recent studies show that nearly two billion people worldwide play host to intestinal worms or water-borne trematode worms also called schistosomes, which basically grounds significant impact on growth and development of human’s cognitive ability, nutrition, immunity and general health. In this piece
Deworming is one of the most neglected treatments in humans despite recommendation by medical experts. Basically, intestinal worms should be treated as one of those things that people get, for the sake of been human. Thus, one of the obvious symptoms of worm infestations is vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, itchy skin and anemia.
To curtail the negative impact of worm infestation, a number of organizations promoted the deworming of children and adult as a public health and development strategy, because most infections of these worms can lead to many health problems.
To reduce the burden, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended a periodic drug treatment (deworming) every three months, provision of adequate sanitation and hygiene education.
Worm infestation affects millions of people worldwide especially those with poor hygiene and those living in marshy areas. Here are five signs that you may need to deworm immediately.
1. Abdominal pain.
Frequent abdominal and colic pains may be indicative that you need to deworm. Parasitic worms often migrate to the intestines where they feed on the host digestion products. They can also bind to the host intestinal wall where they leech nutrients causing abdominal pain. Note that there may be other ailments that can cause abdominal pain, do well to speak with your physician or pharmacist for more diagnosis.
2) Malnutrition & retarded growth.
Parasitic worms could adapt themselves when they find their way into a person's digestive system. Some bind to the intestines and form a protective coating and then leech digestive products and essential micro and macro nutrients from the hosts body possibly leading to malnutrition and retarded growth especially in children. An example of this is hookworm. Worldwide, hookworms infect an estimated 576-740 million people. Although most of those affected are asymptomatic, some may experience anemia and other complications. Hookworms may persist for many years in the host and impair the physical and intellectual development of especially children and the economic development of communities.
3) Anal Itching.
Pruritus or a prickly sensation especially in the perianal area is often indicative of a parasitic worm infestation called pinworm which is produced when a gravid female pinworm migrates to the anal area and inserts her tail pin into the mucosa for oviposition, usually at nighttime.
Pinworm infection is primarily a pediatric condition, and parents are generally infected through transmission from their children. Transmission can occur via direct contact with contaminated furniture, bedclothes, bedding, towels, toilets, doorknobs, or other objects. The parasite can also be transmitted during sexual contact.
Proper hygiene is important to reduce the burden of transmission and infection. Once noticed report to your pharmacist or physician for necessary diagnosis and treatment.
4) Nausea & diarrhea.
Associated nausea, diarrhea and vomiting with or without any other etiology may be indicative of worm infestation. If you often feel nauseated or use the restroom after eating, you may need to consult your doctor or pharmacist.
5) Generalized body itching.
Another common sign of worm infestation is general body itching especially in the hands and feet, may be indicative of filariasis or other parasitic worm infestation. It may be accompanied with or without swelling, inflammation, skin lesions, scaling or skin exfoliation.
If you notice these changes, do consult your pharmacist or physician.
If you live in marshy areas, areas with wet soil, or riverine areas, have poor hygiene, and notice the above signs, you may need to regularly deworm yourself to reduce the risk of infestation or being an asymptomatic carrier hence reducing the burden of transmission. Your pharmacist or doctor would prescribe the appropriate drugs needed to treat it.
Pharm. Obinna O. Okpara
Clinical Pharmacist, Freeview Pharmacy Ltd, Calabar for PharmahubNG