According to WHO about 241 million children between the ages 1 – 14 years in India are at risk of parasitic intestinal worms, known as Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH).

Soil-Transmitted Helminths or Intestinal worm infections impact the health and nutritional status of a child in many ways, here’s all you need to know.

India accounts for approximately 28 percent of the total number of children globally estimated to be at risk of STH infections.

7 out of 10 children in the age group 1 to 14 years are at risk of STH infections.

Types of worms affecting children

There are mainly three types of worms.

Roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), 

Whip worm (Trichuris trichiura),

Hook worm (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale)

Worms are, unfortunately, a very common and normal issue for children and adults alike. It is our responsibility to ensure that our children are free of this parasite. Worms are everywhere and contaminate public areas such as schools and playgrounds.

How often should we deworm ?

From the age of two years old, children and adults should be dewormed once every 6 months. It would be ideal to do it as a family and to have a set date to do so twice a year. The consequences of not deworming often lead to uncomfortable instances of stomach pain and vomiting. Repeat treatments are done twice a year because it is only the adult worm that gets killed off by medication while unfortunately; the eggs stay on in the system.

Make sure to deworm your pets as well. Not only are worms uncomfortable for our live-in animals, but they can be passed on to humans too. Regular deworming of cats and dogs should be done in 3 – 6 month intervals.

What are the side effects of deworming?

Deworming has no serious side effects. “But it can cause nausea and vomiting if a child has worms. The medicine disrupts the worms, which leads to uneasiness in the stomach.

What are the steps to prevent infestation?

Personal hygiene and household cleanliness is of utmost importance to prevent infestation.

Some steps that can be followed as a daily practice are:

  • Washing vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) and fruits before consumption
  • Cut and scrub your nails regularly
  • Ensure that the toilets, bedroom and laundry area are disinfected every day.
  • Thoroughly wash clothes, towels and bed linen
  • Washing the hands regularly especially after using the washroom as well as before and after the meals must be a habit.

A single dosage of Albendazole 400 mg eliminates the worm existing in the intestine but specific treatment needs to be done for different worms and symptoms secondary to it.

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