Children are more prone than adults to contracting roundworms.This condition commonly manifests by itching of the anus, abdominal discomfortand presence of worms in feces. Roundworm infection should be promptly treatedto avoid various health problems. They may have especially devastating effect onhealth of children, resulting in malnutrition and growth hindrance.
Roundworms are known as Ascaris lumbricoides and they arecommonly found in warm, moist, tropical countries. Roundwarms have rounded bodywith pointed ends and may reach 16 inches in length. They mostly live in theintestines of humans. Roundworm infection affects around 1 billion of peopleall over the world and it has been estimated that 55 million American childrenare infected with some type of worms among which roundworm are leadingintestinal parasite.
Causes of Roundworms in Children
Humans can contract roundworms through contaminated food,water and soil. Children are at higher risk of getting infected with roundwormsbecause they often play in dirt and than put their hands into the mouth. Childrenalso often eat with dirty hands, which allow parasites to enter their body. Contactwith infested pet can lead to roundworm infection as well. When enter the humanbody, roundworms live in the intestines where adult female can lay enormousnumber of eggs. These eggs can be passed out in the stools but they may survivein warm soil for up to seven years.
Signs and Symptoms of Roundworm Infection
Since roundworms live in the intestines, they take allimportant nutrients vital for kid’s growth and survival. This may causeweakness and fatigue in children. Another symptom that children experience isitching in the anal area which can be worsen early in the morning and at night. This itching is particularly intense when infected child is passingstool. Abdominal pain and discomfort also result from roundworms infection. Othersigns and symptoms of the infection are allergic reactions, poor appetite andweight loss.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Roundworms in Children
Roundworms infection can be diagnosed with the help of astool analysis that can be checked for presence of roundworms. Another way todiagnose the worm infection is to swab the anal area and review the specimenunder a microscope. Finally, roundworm infection can be confirmed with anultrasound test that can help to locate roundworms in the gut.
Treatment includes anti-itching cream and anti-helminthicmedicine in the form of tablet or syrup. Malnourished children need to have abalanced diet that should include papaya juice with honey, prune juice, carrotjuice and crushed pumpkin seeds mixed with water. Parasite infection can beprevented with good personal hygiene, eating thoroughly cooked foods, and avoidingpet feces, poor sanitation areas, and contaminated water supply.