With deteriorating environmental conditions and adulteration in almost every thing that we consume, the possibility of your child or baby contracting parasitic infections has gone up manifold.
Most worms are parasitic and feed off your child’s nutrition. This causes less nutrients to be sent to your child’s body, hence causing problems like stunted growth, poor immunity, weight loss etc. These worms make a comfortable home in your child’s tummy and soon they begin to reproduce and make huge colonies. The most common type of worms is the roundworm and the hookworm.
How does it happen?
Dirty and damn soil is home to many kinds of worms like the roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, tapeworm, ringworm. If your child walks barefoot or plays with soil then he/she comes in close contact with these harmful worms.
Undercooked or infected food
The soil that is used to grow vegetables and fruits often has worms and their eggs too. So, unclean fruits and vegetables can be a source of such infections. Also, cattle and fish too are prone to worm infestations and consuming undercooked meat can increase the risk for your children.
Worms also breed in water, especially in small puddles, ponds, dams or even lakes. Bathing in these water bodies or drinking water from these sources can cause a worm infestation.
Contact with an infected person
Worms can be found on dirty fingernails or clothes sometimes. So, if your child is in close contact with someone who does not maintain proper hygiene, you need to be cautious.
What should you be looking out for
Stealth attachment is what worms do. So it is imperative that you know what the possible symptoms could be and stay alert.
Blood in stool
Itching or pain around the anus, where the worms entered - this is true particularly for thread or pinworms
Discomfort or pain in the stomach causing loss of appetite
Anemia – especially with hookworms
A bad rash
Painful and frequent urination due to urinary tract infection - this is more common in girls
General irritation and weight loss
The World Health Organization recommends that the baby be administered anthelmintic medicines to stun or kill the parasites or worms that have infested the baby’s body. This can be done either once or twice a year depending on the child’s susceptibility to the attack.
Who is most at risk?
Typically toddlers and pre-school going children are the ones who are most at risk when it comes to worm infestations. It could also affect women who are in their second or third trimester.
How can I protect my baby from it?
Wash your hands thoroughly whenever needed
Keep changing your baby’s nappy with a fresh and clean one.
Make it a point to have filtered or mineral water.
Groom your child well. Make sure his/her fingernails are not long.
If you have hired a help who takes care of your child, then check for her personal hygiene also.
Make sure that your fruits and vegetables have been washed well.
Don’t consume undercooked meat.
Do make sure that your child wears shoes when outdoors.
Mud pits or damp soil are a no-no for your kids.
Your toilet must be clean.
Ajwain (Carom seeds): Take carom seeds with jaggery and have them with cold water. This should help get rid of worms during defecation.
Bael (Bengal quince, wood apple): Bael helps kill worms in the body and they are thrown out of the body during natural excretion.
Pasha (flame of the forest): Seeds of pasha can be taken with buttermilk, even twice. They are very effective against roundworms.
Tulsi (sweet basil): You can either take the leaves with water, or even chew them directly. They help in eliminating all parasitic worms.
There is no need to worry if your child has been attacked by worms. Consult your pediatrician and follow these home remedies and your child should be alleviated of the trouble within no time.