Although worms are not so common in developed nations, they are not so uncommon in India. This is largely due to poor sanitation in general, lower standards of butchering and unclean water. Although you may maintain high standards of hygiene at home, the same cannot be said of your neighbourhood restaurant.
The fact that your child has worms does not mean that the standards of hygiene in your home are low. In reality children are especially susceptible to worms. They usually get worms from their own poor standards of hygiene, eating mud, playing in the dirt and then putting hands in the mouth without washing them. When they play together or when they share food, they pass on the worms to one another. While these days the trend of not eating 'jhuta' food is slowly diminishing, it would be ideal if children, more than adults, avoid eating each others jhuta.
Man's best friend is often a carrier of worms, and is likely to pass them on to your children. Yes, children can get certain worms through animals, so if you have a dog it makes sense to ensure your dog is de-wormed once every six months. Also, make sure that your child washes her hands after petting the dog, and does not put her hands in her mouth until she has done so.
The prime symptom for worms is an itchy bottom. In addition to an itchy bottom, your child may be unusually restless at night and have trouble falling asleep. She may be especially hungry, and may eat a lot without gaining weight. A sudden development of a paunch in addition to an itchy bottom and an increased appetite also signifies worms in children and in adults. Threadworms, which are the most common form of worms found in children, come out of the anus at night and hatch eggs in the anal opening. So if your child scratches her bottom and then puts her finger in her mouth, the eggs will find their way into the intestine once again and develop into more worms, thus continuing the cycle. Also, when your child scratches her bottom, eggs can get lodged under her fingernails, and as she plays around the house, the eggs spread. In this manner the worms spread to other members of the family. Sometimes tiny worms may be visible at night, if you observe your child's anal opening. They may even show up in your child's stool.
Fortunately de-worming treatments are extremely effective, and normally have no side effects since there is no significant absorption of the blood into the bloodstream. All it takes to rid your body of worms is a single tablet. Bear in mind though that pregnant woman should not take this drug in the first trimester.
A certain level of hygiene must be maintained. You could also make your child wear tight fitted underwear to discourage him from scratching his bottom inadvertently at night.
If one child in the family is found with worms, every family member should be treated simultaneously. Clothing, towels, sheets, should all be washed with hot water to kill any worms or eggs, and fingernails should be cut short.
Also Read: Stomach Problems
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