We may squirm at the thought of worms wriggling around inside our children’s bodies, but the truth is, it can be a very frequent occurrence!
Various types of worms can inhabit and live off your child’s body, thriving for very long periods of time even before their invasion becomes obvious. Very often, this can lead to serious effects as parasitic worms will consume nutrients in your child’s body – nutrients he needs to grow and develop and stay healthy.
The worms commonly found living in your toddler’s and child’s intestines may include threadworms, whipworms, roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms, amongst others.
The duration of their invasion in your child’s body and the volume of worms will influence the severity of their effect on your child.
The tell-tale signs
When circumstances become severe you will notice physical negative signs in your child’s health and in his behaviour. An itchy bottom is one of the first red flags, diarrhoea and listlessness, as well as an -out of sorts’ feeling soon follow. On further infestation your child may lose his appetite, begin to vomit, complain of a sore tummy, which may also appear a little swollen, show signs of a fever, a cough, an inability to rest peacefully, a slight rash on his skin, allergy type irritations of the eyes and mucous or blood in his stools.
You may notice your child losing weight even though he may still be eating well, and perhaps even eating more than usual. This is because his little body is desperately trying to get the nourishment it needs due to the worms eating up all the goodness. This is when malnourishment can set in. You may also notice your child shows a distinct loss of energy and readily gets sick with common illnesses such as colds and flus.
With the most common sign for worm infection in your child being an itchy bottom, you should notice this right away. The itching in this area is generally worse during the early mornings and in the evenings.
Where do they come from?
Some worm parasites are picked up from the soil – as easily as walking over an infected area of sand outdoors. This is the case where hookworm larvae will penetrate the skin of the bare foot or other area of the body touching this part of the soil. After entering the body through the skin the body transports the hookworm larvae to the lungs, from where it moves to the throat and is then swallowed to the intestine where it makes its new home.
It’s not uncommon for young children to frequently contaminate each other with one or other types of worms. Most other common parasitic worms are frequently ingested via contaminated food or undercooked meat. The well-known tapeworm, however, can also make its attack via the consumption of polluted water.
Some worms, such as from the threadworm family, create large volumes of tiny eggs that are easily carried in general house dust, on clothing, bed linen and bath towels.
But now that we’ve creeped you out with the knowledge that your little one could be under attack by these horrible little fellows, it’s time to rest assured. All you need to do is keep a beady eye on your child and should you see some of the signs we have explained, take him off to your local doc. All worms can be easily and totally eradicated with efficient anti-worm medication.
Mom’s always right
And at the end of the day we are reminded of our own mothers’ repeated words: -wash your hands before you eat and -wash that apple before you eat it ! Our mothers knew more than we gave them credit for as these two simple tasks can go a very long way it keeping those worms at bay.