How to Deworm Your Child
Deworming is the first step to take as soon as you notice symptoms of intestinal worms in your kid. There are various ways to deworm your kid. However, the treatment differs, depending on the type of infestation your kid is suffering from. You may get rid of the intestinal worm through prescribed medicine for older kids or make use of syrup, in case of toddlers, as recommended by your doctor.
What Are Intestinal Worms?
Intestinal worms are parasitic worms such as tapeworms, roundworms, pinworms and hookworms, which can cause problems to humans once they begin infesting their body. They fester in the intestinal walls of humans and animals and lead to larger health issues if left untreated. Unhygienic and unsanitary surroundings and consumption of contaminated water or food are the common causes of intestinal worms infestation in the human body. There are a few symptoms which can be related to an infestation of these parasitic worms. Early diagnosis can help locate the type of worms your kid is infected with. Once the type of worm is identified, you can easily treat your kid with the help of deworming medication prescribed by your doctor.
What is Deworming?
Deworming is the process of expelling intestinal worms or parasitic worms from the body by administering an anthelmintic medicine/drug. In other words, it is a medicated process of getting rid of intestinal worms. The deworming process includes the use of anthelmintic medication.
How Do Kids Get Worms?
There are several causes of worms in children. Below, are some of the common ways through which kids can fall victim to parasitic worms:
- Water is the most common medium of getting an infection. Drinking contaminated water can invite infestation of worms in your kids.
- Poor hygiene is another way these worms can travel into your body.
- Consumption of undercooked meat from an infected animal or undercooked fruits and vegetable infected with worms.
- Soil infested with worms is another culprit behind causing an infestation in your kid.
- Infected pets can also become the messenger of parasitic worms that easily travel from your pets to your kid.
- Lack of sanitation is one of the causes of parasitic worm, especially for those who do not wash their hands after using the toilet.
Parasitic worms or intestinal worms breed in an unhygienic environment. Usually, when your kids touch things such as worm-infested toys or play in the dirt, they end up getting worm eggs on their hand, which travel into their body when they touch their mouth or eat something directly without washing their hands.
Symptoms of Worms in Children
Below are a few symptoms that can help you identify whether your kid has fallen prey to intestinal worms or not:
- Abdominal pain
- Redness or rash on the buttocks
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Weight loss
- Appetite loss
- Anaemia can be related to parasitic worms
- Tiredness, weakness or hunger due to worms
- Blood in the stool
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Urinating frequently
- Pain while urinating
If you are suspecting infestation of worms in your child based on any symptoms you may notice, then you should consult your doctor and get your child diagnosed without a second thought.
There are numerous ways of diagnosing worms in children, such as taking samples of stool to examine the presence of worms or taking a blood sample to examine the presence of antibodies that our body usually produces when attacked by parasites.
Here are some common methods of diagnosing worms in children:
1. Checking Fingernails
As your hands are the primary mode of transferring worms inside the body through ingestion, worms often leave their eggs under the fingernails. The doctor will examine the area under your child’s fingernails to determine the presence of worms.
2. Sticky Tape Test
This is a common exam to test for the presence of worms. The doctor sticks a piece of tape to the child’s bottom. The tape will collect any worm eggs if there are any. This is then removed and sent to the lab to test for worm eggs stuck to the tape.
3. Stool Examination
The stool can be examined to check for worms. If positive, it indicates that there are worms in the intestines.
In case there the worm infestation is suspected to be severe, the doctor may conduct an ultrasound.
Dangers of Worm Infections
People with low immunity, especially children, are more susceptible to infestation of intestinal worms. There are various dangers of worm infection one should watch out for. Malnutrition, intestinal blockage, a hindrance to the healthy growth of children, weight loss and anaemia, are a few risks resulting from worm infections.
Treatment against parasitic worms depends on the type of worms and symptoms in your kid. Worms like tapeworms will die on their own if you follow a healthy diet and have a strong immune system. However, in most cases, you should consult your doctor and follow an anthelmintic treatment as prescribed by the doctor. Since parasitic worms lay eggs inside their host’s body and keep multiplying if left untreated for long, it makes it even more difficult and time-consuming to deworm.
Deworming Medicine for Kids
Deworming medicine for kids varies based on your kid’s age and the type of worms he is infected with.
- Treatment for tapeworms is dealt with using oral medication such as praziquantel (Biltricide). This medicine paralyses and dissolves the tapeworm, which is later on passed through stool.
- Infection by roundworm is treated using mebendazole (Vermox, Emverm) and albendazole (Albenza). Results of effective treatment become visible after a few weeks, and it is recommended to visit your doctor for another diagnosis after the completion of treatment to make sure that deworming is done thoroughly.
Home Remedies for Deworming
- Make sure you set a nutritious, balanced diet for your kid, including fruits and vegetables every day.
- Ginger, garlic should be included in the diet.
- Unhygienic food and water, especially from outside, should be avoided.
How to Prevent Your Kids From Getting Worms?
Prevention is always better than treatment. There are several ways through which your kid can get infected by intestinal worms such as playing in infested dirt, grass, and sand, consuming food from unhygienic places or by coming in contact with people who are already infested with worms. Below are a few points of prevention against worms:
- Make sure that your kids wash their hands properly with soap before consuming anything.
- Wash fruits or vegetables properly before eating, and also make sure that whatever you consume is not infested with worms.
- Prevent your kids from playing barefoot in mud, sand, grass or other outdoor places.
- Prevent your kids from eating uncooked meat, especially pork and fish, which are known to carry worms in them.
- Make sure that any swimming pool your child visits is in line with hygienic standards.
- Avoid drinking water from public places. Always drink purified water.
1. How Frequently Should I Deworm My Child?
As per WHO’s recommendation, deworming once every six months is enough.
2. What Do Worms in Kids Look Like?
Threadworms, also known as pinworms in kids, is the most common type of worms and seem similar to pieces of white thread.
3. What Are the Side Effects Of Deworming Children?
Usually, deworming medicines are mild enough to be easily tolerated by kids, but in some rare cases, there may be light side-effects of deworming, such as nausea, mild headache, and vomiting.
4. Can Babies Get Worms?
Yes. if a child is consuming raw food contaminated with the eggs of worms, he is susceptible to intestinal worms.
5. Is There a Particular Age for Deworming?
The recommendation is to deworm all kids from age 6 months to 5 years of age.
Deworming is something every parent should follow as a precaution, as kids often play in mud and dirt outdoors, so it is likely they may come in contact with worm eggs. As we all know, prevention is the best treatment, and necessary steps should be taken to prevent your kids from coming in contact with these parasites, as much as possible, as well as following a proper deworming routine every six months.