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Today in Health & Wellness

Worm Infestation

Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult

Common Name: Binubulate (Fil); parasitic infection (Eng.)

Food, water, air, feces, pets, toilet seats and door handles may be contaminated with worm eggs. The eggs can enter the body of a human through the mouth, the nose and the anus. Inside the body, the eggs usually lodge in the intestine, where they hatch, grow and multiply. Other body sites can also be infected.

Common worm infections:

  • Roundworms hatch and live in the intestines. The eggs usually enter the body through contaminated water or food. Symptoms of their presence include: Fatigue, weight loss, irritability, poor appetite, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Without treatment, anemia and malnutrition can develop.
  • Pinworms. Also called seatworms and threadworms, pinworms hatch and live primarily in the intestines. The eggs usually enter the body through the anus, through the nose or mouth via inhaled air, or through contact with contaminated objects. Anal itching, pallor and stomach discomfort are usual symptoms of pinworm infection.
  • Trichina spiralis lives in the intestines and causes a serious illness known as trichinosis. The eggs usually enter the body via raw or undercooked pork, sausage or bear meat. In the intestines, the eggs hatch, mature, and migrate to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and the lymphatic system. Early symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. In time, a high fever, puffiness of the face and muscle pain develop. Eventually the worms can penetrate the muscles, the heart and the brain and can cause death.
  • Tapeworms live in the intestines. The eggs usually enter the body via raw or uncooked beef. Rarely, patients experience abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, and diarrhea.
  • Flukes can live in the intestines, bladder, rectum, liver, spleen, lungs and veins. Flukes first mature inside freshwater snails. After leaving the snails, they can enter the body of humans by penetrating the skin of persons swimming, bathing or washing in water where flukes are active. Some infected persons may experience rash, itching, muscle aches, coughing, chills and fever. In time, the repeated infections can damage the liver, bladder, intestines and lungs. In rare cases, flukes can invade the spinal cord or brain and cause seizures and paralysis.
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs

Anthelmintic drugs are used to reduce or eradicate worm infections in the intestines or tissues of the body. Infection must first be identified before starting the treatment.

  • Mebendazole is the drug of choice against infection with hookworm, roundworm, pinworm and whipworm. It works by keeping the worm from absorbing sugar (glucose). This gradually causes loss of energy and death of the worm. Pregnant women and children less than one year old should not be given this drug. Mild diarrhea and abdominal pain may occur.
  • Albendazole is the drug of choice for pork tapeworm infection and used as an alternative drug for hookworm, roundworm, pinworm and whipworm infection. It impairs glucose uptake of intestinal parasites. Do not take if pregnant and if suffering from cirrhosis. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache and insomnia may occur.
  • Pyrantel acts by paralyzing the worm, which is dislodged by normal intestinal movement. It is the drug of choice for roundworm, hookworm and pinworm infections but is not effective against whipworm and threadworm. It should be used with caution in patients with liver disorder, anemia and severe malnutrition. Headache, diarrhea, rash and fever may occur.
  • Piperazine is used as an alternative drug for ascariasis or roundworm infections. It works by paralyzing the worms, which are then passed in the stool. Do not take if there is renal or hepatic disease and epilepsy. Allergic reactions, abdominal pain, headache and diarrhea may occur.
  • Niclosamide is used as the drug of choice for infection with beef, fish and pork tapeworm. It must be chewed and taken with water. A laxative is given two hours after the dose to help expel the killed worms. Gastrointestinal disturbances, pruritus and skin rash may occur.
  • Praziquantel is also effective against tapeworm infections. It may cause severe eye damage. Driving or machine operation should be avoided within 24 hours because it may cause drowsiness. Mothers should avoid breastfeeding within ness, lassitude and abdominal pain may occur.
  • Other Drugs: Oxantel embonate
Treatment and Management
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Clean bathrooms and kitchens thoroughly.
  • Avoid eating unwashed, undercooked food.
  • Wear closed shoes when traveling to endemic areas.
  • To guard against reinfection, change clothes and bed linens daily. Wash perianal area everyday.
Home Remedies
  • Garlic, pumpkin seeds, pomegranates, beets, and carrots, are reported to have anti-worm properties. Drink lots of water to promote good bowel elimination.
  • Digestive enzymes help restore the intestinal tract to its normal state, which makes it inhospitable to parasites. Papain taken 30 minutes before or after meals helps kill worms. Acidophilus supplements help normalize bowel bacteria.
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