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Worm infestation affects not only pets, but also numerous children. In the first years of life, humans are particularly susceptible to worms of various types. Most of them are harmless, but create annoying problems such as severe itching.
Discover here how to behave properly when your offspring has worms in the stool.
Horror In The Diaper! Worms In The Stool In Children And What You Can Do About It
It’s a huge shock for every mother: When changing diapers you see little worms in your child’s stool! About one-third of all children are once affected by the unappetizing and definitely unwanted guests – even in the western world.
But where does worm disease come from? What are the symptoms and risks associated with worm infestation? And how can your child get rid of the worms in the stool? Find out about the different types of small parasites and fight them.
Worm Diseases In Children And Where They Come From
The danger for children to be infected by worms lurks almost everywhere and cannot be completely avoided even with the best hygiene. The parasites are picked up through the mouth.
All it takes is a sandbox soiled by cat feces and your toddler’s hand stuck first in the sand and then in the mouth to soon discover worms in the stool. A less frequent source of danger is fruit, vegetables, and spoiled meat.
Here, as a mother, you have a much better opportunity to pay attention to hygiene than in the playground. As soon as children have outgrown the age at which they put everything in their mouths, the risk of worms in the stool also decreases enormously.
The most common worms found as parasites in children are nematodes, also called threadworms. There are several types of nematodes that can infect humans, animals, and plants. The varieties found in children are:
In Western Europe, pinworms are the most common parasite species among nematodes. Also common, in both children and adults, is the tapeworm.
No Power To The Eorms: Recognizing And Combating Nematodes
Pinworms, the most common type of nematode, are parasites that make themselves at home in the human body – more specifically, in the colon. The female worms come out of the anus at night to lay eggs on the surrounding skin.
The worms choose this time because they are lured out by the warmth under the covers. After laying the eggs, the females die while the male worms remain in the intestine. The process produces an itching sensation in the child.
The children put their hands in diapers or underwear and scratch themselves. The laid eggs get onto the fingers, creating a cycle of repeated infection. Siblings are also quickly infected through physical contact. Parents and other family members can also be infected. The infection is similarly rapid as with head lice.
The symptoms of nematodes
In addition to the pronounced itching, there are also numerous other symptoms:
Abdominal pain and constipation; Fatigue and general malaise; Loss of appetite and weight; And paleness of vaginal infection in girls.
Nematodes can be seen with the naked eye when they reach a certain size. Either the worms are in the stool or also on the clothing. Especially the dead females are often found by the parents. For you and your child, it must then immediately go to the doctor. The doctor will then diagnose the worm infestation, by the sighting, stool samples, or your descriptions.
How Are Nematodes Treated?
Your child’s worm infection will be treated with medication by the doctor. Exactly which drug is prescribed depends on the type of worm and the age of the child. All preparations on the market have the effect of killing the threadworms before they can reproduce again.
All dead worms are then excreted in the feces. Pay attention to the doctor’s precise instructions on how long the worm medicine should be taken and whether it is advisable to repeat the treatment. Anti-parasite medications – also called anthelmintics – usually require a prescription.
The greatest difficulty in treating nematodes is the high risk of re-infection. The eggs of the worms can survive outside the human body for several weeks. Bedding, clothing, cuddly toys & Co must be thoroughly cleaned to make the therapy successful.
To get rid of the worms in the stool, you and your family must absolutely observe the following rules:
- Wash your hands regularly, especially after going to the toilet and before eating.
- Trim all fingernails.
- Change clothes and bedding daily.
- Wash clothes and bed linen at least 60 degrees.
- Wash the anal region thoroughly every day.
The hygiene program must be followed by all families in the household, not only by your sick child. This is the only way to ensure that the annoying warmers in the stool do not reappear after just a few days.
Often, the whole family is subjected to bowel treatment so that no infection is overlooked. Is your child still wearing diapers? Then make sure to use powder and wound protection cream when cleaning the bottom, so as not to irritate the itchy skin even more.
What Happens If The Worms Are Not Detected And Treated?
Nematodes remain in the body without medical treatment and cannot be fought by the immune system itself. As a parasite, they are perfectly designed to not only survive but thrive in the human body.
Certain home remedies, such as eating garlic, don’t stand a chance against the worms on their own and are also unsuitable for young children. In the worst case, an untreated worm infection can lead to intestinal obstruction. It is therefore essential to visit the pediatrician with your child immediately at the first signs.
If the worms in the stool are not pinworms but roundworms, your child is at greater risk. Roundworms can migrate from the intestine to other parts of the body and cause great damage.
For example, roundworms in the lungs cause pneumonia, which can be fatal in children. Unlike pinworms, however, roundworms are not very common in Western Europe.
Tapeworms In Children
No small worms in the stool, but a worm disease of a different kind is the infestation with a tapeworm. Tapeworms are transmitted by raw or half-cooked meat. Cattle, in particular, often serve as intermediate hosts.
Fully cooked or previously frozen meat cannot transmit the worm, even if it was originally infected. In addition, a tapeworm can also come to humans through pets such as dogs or cats. So as a pet owner, be sure to deworm your pets regularly.
Especially if you have small children in the house. The tapeworm can infect children and adults alike and grows unnoticed in the body to a size of several meters.
It causes cravings, weight loss, pain, diarrhea, and many other symptoms. Small pieces of the worm are often found in the stool, having been shed by it. As soon as you notice one or more of the signs in your child, the doctor should be consulted immediately.
Treatment For Tapeworm Infection
The doctor will diagnose the tapeworm in your child with a stool sample as well as an ultrasound image. The worm is removed by medication. In rare cases, surgery is required.
Unlike nematodes such as pinworms, the tapeworm is not transmissible from person to person. Therefore, other family members do not have to be treated as well.
Worms In The Stool: Take The Fear Away From Your Child
Especially with slightly older children, disgust with the worms comes into play when they become infected. Be honest with your child and at the same time treat the subject of worms in the stool without panic or hysteria. The calmness and normality that you radiate will be transmitted to your child. Good doctors also know how to deal with the issue skillfully.
A worm infestation in the family is the ideal time to talk to your children about cleanliness and personal hygiene. By washing their hands several times a day, your child will easily discover hygiene and you will also learn something new!