Worms

Worms: A small, limpless invertebrate with an elongated, soft, and naked body, as a flat worm, roundworm, or annelid.

Parasitic Worms: many species of worms (also referred to as helminths) are parasitic by nature and select the human organism as their host. Whereas invasion by any form of organism is usually called an infection, the presence of parasitic worms in the body also can be termed and infestation. The microscope is required for the discovery of the eggs or larval forms of most worm infestations.

Common roundworm: The cost common of the intestinal worms is the large, rounded ascaris (as'kah-ris), which is very prevalent in many parts of Asia, where it is found mostly in the larval form. In the United States it is found especially frequently in the children of the rural South. This worm resembles the earthworm (fish worm) in appearance and may be present in such large numbers that intestinal obstruction ensues. the eggs produced by the adult worms are very resistant so that they can live in soil during either freezing or hot, dry weather and cannot be destroyed even by strong antiseptics. The embryo worms develop within the eggs deposited with excreta in the soil, and later reach the digestive system of a victim by means of contaminated food. Discovery of this condition may be made by a routine stool examination.

Pinworms: Another fairly common infestation, particularly in children, is the seat or pinworm (Enterobius Vermicularis), which is also very hard to control and eliminate. The worms average somewhat less than one-half inch in length and live in the lower part of the alimentary tract (organs of digestion). The adult female moves outside to the vicinity of the anus to lay its thousands of eggs. These eggs are often transferred by the child's fingers from the itching anal area to the mouth. In the digestive system of the victim the eggs develop to form new adult worms, and thus a new infestation is begun. The child also may infect others by this means. patience and every precaution, with careful attention to the doctor's instructions, are necessary if the patient is to be rid of the worms. * Washing hand, keeping fingernails clean, and avoiding finger sucking are all essential.

Hookworms: Parasites that live in the small intestine. They are dangerous because they suck blood from the host, causing such a severe anemia (blood deficiency) that the victim becomes sluggish, both physically and mentally. Most victims become susceptible to various chronic infections because of extremely reduced resistance following such a great and continuous blood loss. Hookworms lay thousands of eggs, which are distributed in the soil by contaminated excreta,. The eggs develop into small larvae which are able to penetrate the intact skin of bare feet. They enter the blood, and by way of the circulating fluids, the lungs and the upper respiratory tract, finally reach the digestive system. Prevention of this infestation is accomplished best by the proper disposal of excreta, attention to sanitation, and the wearing of shoes in areas where the soil is contaminated.

Other roundworms: While most roundworms are transmitted via, excreta, the small Trichinella (trik-i-nel'ah) found in pork and other muscle foods is an exception. These tiny roundworms become enclosed in a cyst, that is, a sac, inside the muscles of the rat, the pig and man. If pork is not well cooked, these sacs or cysts are dissolved by the host's digestive juices, and the tiny worms mature and travel to the muscles where they again become encased. This disease is known a trichinosis (trik-i-no'-sis). Another threadlike worm causes filariasis (fil-ah-ri'ah-sis). This tiny worms transmitted by such biting insects as flies and mosquitoes. The worms grow in large numbers, causing various body disturbances. If the lymph vessels become clogged by them, there results a condition called elephantiasis (el-e-fan-ti'ah-sis) in which the lower extremities and the scrotum may become tremendously enlarged. Filariasis is most common in tropical and subtropical lands, such a southern Asia and many of the South Pacific islands.

Flatworms: Some flatworms resemble long ribbons, while other have the shape of a leaf. Tapeworms may grow in the intestinal tract to a length of from 5 to 50 feet. They are spread by infected, improperly cooked meats, including beef, pork and fish. As is the case with most intestinal and worm parasites, the reproductive systems are very highly developed, so that each worm produces an almost unbelievable number of eggs which then may contaminate food, water and soil. The leaf-shape flatworms are known as flukes; they may invade various parts of the body including the blood, the lungs, the liver and the intestine.

Symptoms:

* Severe anal itching, more so at night

* Itching on the soles of the patients feet may suggests hookworms; in some, this may be accompanied by a rash, coughing bloody sputum, and fever, followed by loss of appetite, diarrhea, palpitations, fatigue and anemia.

* Diarrhea and cramping that last up to 7 days, followed by a fever, muscle pain, facial swollen around the eyes and conjunctivitis (pink eye); may be signs of trichinosis.

* Weight loss and loss of appetite, irritability, diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting are symptoms of tapeworms.

* Breathing difficulties, coughing and wheezing, followed by vomiting, stomach pain, and bloating, may suggest ascariasis.

* Bronchitis; diarrhea, abdominal pain and flatulence; with small red lesions that may itch, may suggest threadworms.

* Any worm infestation can lead to respiratory or cardiovascular complications, but most are easily treated and cause no lasting harm.

Treatment:

* Responds to medicines specifically for the type of worm: outcome good

* Your doctor may prescribe medication with pyrantel or mebendazole for hookworms and threadworms.

* For pinworms, your doctor may prescribe three oral doses of mebendazole, two weeks apart.

* Since the eggs can easily spread, everyone in the household must be treated. Washing all bed linens and clothing with hot water (with detergent) is essential to eradicate all pinworm eggs.

* To relieve itching in the anal area, try applying petroleum jelly to anal area.

* Trichinosis that spreads to the respiratory, cardiovascular or central nervous system is rare, it is treated with corticosteroids to fight the inflammation.

most cases of trichinosis are mild and do not need medication; but if symptoms are severe, your doctor may prescribe mebendazole.

* Tapeworms may not clear your system for up to five months.

* After you have completed a course of treatment, your doctor may want ot repeat the diagnostic tests to make sure the worms are gone.

***Good hand washing is important. Before and after bathroom use; Before and after dining.

***Keep fingernails short and clean. (keep child from putting fingers into mouth)

***Have all your four-legged pets checked and treated for worms.

***Cook meat thoroughly.

***Wash utensils, that comes in contact with raw meat with hot soapy water.

***Wearing shoes where hookworms and threadworms may live (soil)

***Call your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms

Latest Article: Wheezing

Wheezing comes from the bronchial tubes in contrast to whooping sounds that come from the trachea and larynx. The whistling sound (wheezing) occurs when a patients attempt to exhale through bronchial passages that are constricted or excreting excess mucus due to irritation, infection or allergy. Wheezing from the chronic respiratory disease; asthma is due to a combination of...

Related Articles: