Troubling worms in little tummy
A general condition found in many kids. This could be due to polluted water food. Kids who tend to eat mud and put things in their mouth also suffer from frequent stomach upset problems.
Parasites infect the children in very different ways causing onset of trouble. Well, organisms that depend upon other organisms for their food or survival are called parasites. Yes, intestinal worms fall in this category. Hookworms, tapeworms, pin worms and round worms are all parasites. What sort of negative effect these organisms cause depends upon the number of worms present in the body of a child. Some parasites don’t let the nutrients in the food to be absorbed by the body while some suck blood from the gut lining. Hookworm sucks around 0.4 ml of blood every day. Some parasites live in the intestines in very large numbers like a large colony causing lot of pain and allergies in the child.
The parasites enter into a human body in two ways:
1. Through contaminated food and water. 2. through skin
These parasites can be categorized into two :
1. Single cell organism 2. Helminth
Single cell organisms : These enter in the body and multiply into crores causing many infections. Amoeba is one such organism.
Helminth : Helminth in Greek means a worm. Though these organisms growth is not as fast as that of single cell parasites but the trouble caused by helminth is many folds compared to that of single cell organisms.
Amebiasis is the most common infection caused by the single cell parasite called Entamoeba Histolytica , which enters the human body through contaminated food and water. Once in the human body it survives on the food taken and later travels to large intestines via small intestines. The organism then settles on the sensitive gut lining of the large intestine and infects it to form ulcers. The reaction caused by the amoeba in the intestine leads to bloody stools and glaucoma diarrhea. Due to this children suffer from fever, abdominal pain, stomach inflammation.
The single cell parasite amoeba also travels to lever through blood. From large intestine when amoeba reaches lever they develop into cysts and when these cysts break they effect even lungs. In some cases after breaching the intestinal walls and entering into the blood stream these parasites travel to other internal organs like heart, lungs, brain etc.
Giardiasis : more than 500 million around the world people are affected by this infection and over a lakh people die because of this. Its mainly caused by consuming polluted water. It is an infection in small intestine. Once in the human body this parasite act upon the gut lining of the small intestine and interrupts the activities of the useful enzymes required by the body. The symptom of the child suffering with this infection is chronic diarrhea. Common symptoms that can be observed in a child are:
• Blood in stools
• Abdominal pain
• Stomach inflammation
• Foul smelling stools
• Reduced food intake
Rat worm parasite also known as rat lung worm multiply and spread by human excreta. These worms grow up to the size of 15 to 20 cms in size in human body. A resident of small intestine the female parasite lays around a lakh eggs in a day. When excreted in open these eggs survive on land in urine and stool and later spread across. Children who tend to eat mud and put things in their mouth from the ground are prone to this infection. Also improper hygiene is the most common cause of all the intestinal infections in children. Once the eggs reenter human body the worms attack the gut lining and breach it, to contaminate the blood steam effecting other internal organs such as lungs causing pneumonia. Appendicitis is also caused by these organisms.
We have seen that the main reasons for stomach pain in children is intake of polluted or contaminated food and water, and also because kids tend to eat mud or soil. In this article we will shed some light on some other parasites which create trouble in small stomachs, the precautions to be taken to avoid infections and treatment available.
Treatment for everyone
Pin worms infect large intestine. They grow upto the size of 5mm. Female pinworm travels from large intestine to anal area and lays its eggs their. This generally happens when the infected person is asleep during the nights. Because of this children thus infected tend to have very bad sleep and cry all night. Children anal area becomes itchy and they tend to scratch the surface with their fingers. Thousands of eggs present their get stuck to the fingers and nails of the child. When the child puts his fingers in his mouth these eggs get into the stomach leading to increase in the numbers of these pinworms in the child body. The eggs in the anal area spread to clothes of kids, bed sheets and other clothing in the house. Pin worms thus spread to other people in the house via these clothes. Hence, in hostels or where kids share the space like play area or schools, or in home this infection spreads from one person to other. That is the reason why doctor suggest every one in the house to take the precautionary treatment though initially one person of the family is infected. Also those in hostels too should take timely treatment for precautions.
The worms in the small intestine tend to grow from 7.5 mm to 13 mm in size. They lay some thousands of eggs. Open defecation brings these eggs on to the soil. When these worms are in larva stage after coming out of eggs enter the body of a person, walking without footwear in such places, through skin. After entering into the body of a person these worms infect lungs by travelling through blood vessels. Also children infected by these worms suffer with anemia.
Through improperly cooked meat
We can divide the ribbon type worms into two categories. These worms stay in the digestive tract and come out on to the soil through stools. Grazing animals like cow, buffalo, and also pig get infected by these worms. The worms that infect these animals stay in the meat. When the meat of these animals is improperly cooked and consumed a person that person gets infected. The small worms that reach the stomach of the infected person, grow larger in size over a period of three months. These worms stick to the gut and intestinal walls and causes ulcers and infections. The infection can result in large cysts, which place pressure on nearby blood vessels and affect circulation.
• Intake of clean food and water
• Keeping neat and short nails
• Non vegetarians must eat properly cooked meat
• Wearing footwear when going out of the house
It has been really useful to control these infections with the availability of medicine named nizarol which is a deworming prescribed by many doctors. If a child is infected it is advisable for all the family members along with the helpers in the house to take this medicine. Children are prescribed to take 5 ml of this medicine twice a day for three days. Little grown ups are prescribed 200 mg tablets twice a day and adults are given 500 mg tablets to be taken twice a day.
Altered appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, are the common symptoms in children which when observed in them should consult a doctor. It is very important to maintain self hygiene and keep home and surroundings neat and clean. Not to forget to follow doctor instructions for a healthy stomach of your little one.