The treatment of roundworm involves making use of many different types of medications which are usually effective. However, their eradication is quite difficult. This article provides some information on the treatment options available for humans.
Roundworms, which are also known as nematodes, are parasites that live in the intestines of humans and animals. There are many different species of this worm. Their bodies are long and round in shape, and the size often varies from one species to another. Some of them are visible to the naked eye, whereas others can be seen only through a microscope. They survive well in warm, tropical regions of the world. The eggs and larvae of this worm enter the human body from contaminated food, water, and soil.
Small children are mostly affected by them. This happens when they touch contaminated soil with their hands and then put the fingers inside the mouth. It can also get into the body through skin. The larvae then grow up to become an adult worm and lay eggs in large numbers inside the intestine. One adult worm can stay alive for as long as two years. Hundreds of such worms can live in one human host. The main aim of the treatment is to eradicate this large population of worms present in the intestine.
Symptoms of the Infection
The severity of the symptoms often varies from mild to severe. Most of the time, small children are diagnosed with this infection when they start losing a lot of weight without any reason or their growth gets affected due to nutritional problems. Other general symptoms that are seen are irritability, fatigue, general weakness, loss of appetite, or restlessness during the night. In more serious cases, high fever, allergic rash along with abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea can be found. If the worm gets into the lungs, then shortness of breath, wheezing, or chest cough may occur.
Treatment of the Infection
This parasitic infection is diagnosed with the help of a series of tests conducted in pathological laboratory. These include blood tests, urine tests, and testing of stool samples. These tests help the doctors to identify the species of roundworm and then the treatment is carried out accordingly. This infestation in humans is mainly treated with anti-parasitic medicines. Mebendazole is one such very popular drug which is used for this purpose. It can be taken in the form of a tablet or a drink and its dosage usually depends on the condition of the patient. It is suitable for children above the age of two years and adults.
Piperazine is also used as an anthelmintic to paralyze these nematodes in children. It is available in sachets and can be added to a drink. It has to be taken continuously for 2 – 3 months to get the desired results. It is good for infants who are more than three months old, small children, and adults. Other medicines that are often prescribed to kill the intestinal parasite are ivermectin, albendazole, and levamisole. The selection of the medicine is based upon the type of nematode that the patient is carrying in his or her body. However, none of these medicines should be given to pregnant women, lactating mothers, or newborns without consulting a doctor.
If a specific nematode releases harmful chemicals that cause inflammation or allergies, then anti-inflammatory medicines like corticosteroids are administered to control the symptoms. Sometimes, antibiotics may also be given to treat the condition. The infection often impairs the ability of the body to absorb vital nutrients. Therefore, vitamin A supplements are also given along with these medicines to improve the digestive health. In serious cases, where the intestine gets blocked due to the infestation, then a surgical option may be availed in order to get rid of the worm.
The medicines used for this particular treatment either kill or paralyze the parasite, and are then excreted out of the body through stools. As these nematodes are highly contagious, this condition can be prevented only by maintaining proper hygiene. Fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before consumption. One should wash hands properly with an antibacterial soap before eating or after handling soil and dirt.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.