Deworming is a process where a medicine is given to the children to get rid of helminthes. Helminthes are parasitic worms. They can affect the general well being of your child. These worms start affecting your child’s intestine. The most common forms of helminthes are the round worms, tapeworms, pinworms and hookworms. In order treat worm infections antihelminthics are used. Now before we discuss whether deworming is necessary for children, let us brush upon few of the causes of worms.
Causes of Worm Infection Among Children
As parents we do our best to protect our precious little ones. However, there are certain loopholes that always remain. The following is an exclusive list of factors that might cause worm infection to your child.
- Giving unfiltered or not boiled drinking water.
- Not washing hands before eating.
- Making them have fruits and vegetables which are not properly washed.
- Serving them with uncooked or half-cooked meat.
- Not washing hands after playing with pets
- Making your child eat in unwashed or not properly washed utensils.
- Playing and walking around barefooted.
- Not washing hands after going to the loo.
- Sharing unwashed clothes with other children. Specially if your child is staying in a hostel or spends time in a day-care, this factor might trigger the possibility of a worm attack in him/her.
- Swimming in pools and lakes which are not regularly cleaned.
- Finally, coming in contact with other kids who are infected with worms. This is a major risk because contamination from school environment is something you, as a parent, cannot tackle.
The list shows the avenues from which your child can get contaminated with worms. There are things which are beyond your control, as far as contamination of worms is concerned. That is why you need to check for signs of worm infection in your child. So let us look at some common symptoms of worms, in your child.
Symptoms of Worm Infection
A lot of parents complain about their children’s loss of appetite. Or sometimes they are worried that their children are not gaining enough weight. If your child is not gaining the desired weight, even when he/she is being fed with proper food on a regular basis, then worm can be a major reason. However, there are other indicators. By which you can determine whether or not your child is infected with worms. Some of the indicators or symptoms are listed below:
- Persistently reluctant to eat.
- Suffering from constant stomach pain or discomfort
- Indications of itching around the anus
- Your child is in an irritable mood (especially at night)
- Your child is not willing to sleep or having trouble sleeping (especially at night)
- Traces of blood in stool
- Visible worms in stool
- Signs and symptoms of Anemia
- Indications of Nausea
- Regular vomiting
- Rashes all over the body
- Urinary tract infection
- Diarrhea or dysentery
Can Worms Halt Growth of Children?
Worms feed on the nutrients your child needs for growth and development. They (the worms) tend to consume all the essential nutrients and vitamins. In this way the worms stop growth of your child thereby causing nutrient deficiency. Children, with worms, also suffer from vitamins and mineral deficiencies. Certain kind of worms target Vitamin A. There are also some worms which consume all the iron and protein from your child’s body and make him/her anemic.
Worms will also make your children fatigued easily. They will tend to lose interest in physical activities. Their concentration levels, at school, will drop drastically and they will become irritable. So there are incomprehensible amount of both physical and emotional damage, inflicted upon the children, by the worms.
Is Deworming Necessary for Children?
Worm infestation can cause serious ailments. The ailments include anemia, malnourishment, and impaired mental and physical development. For that reason, most of the doctors recommend a periodic deworming for the children along with the entire family.
Deworming is given utmost importance in many countries where schools and pre-schools undergo mass deworming of their children, teachers and other staff members.
However, if your child is below one year, deworming medication is not advised. But if he/she shows signs of worm infection you must consult with your pediatrician.
There are a large variety of tests which are available in order to ascertain the presence of worm in your child’s system. In order to undergo a deworming routine, at home, you can always do a normal stool test for parasites and eggs.
A physical examination conducted by the pediatrician can also help the cause.
Parents often tend to overlook some obvious signs of their children being infected by worms. They (the parents) tend to believe that their child is being purposefully reluctant to have food or dodging away from homework. But it is always better to get things tested before the worms actually start causing serious harm.