Stomach Worms in Children : Symptoms , Treatment & Prevention Tips

by Dr. Chetan Ginigeri

Children are the future of the world and as they are tender in their thoughts, knowledge and health. It is the desire of every parent to guarantee a healthier environment and a better life for their child. However, when it comes to a child's health, many factors come into play and can sometimes be a complex task. The presence of worms in the stomach or intestine is one problem that many children face during their growing stage.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO) states, ‘Soil-borne helminth infections are one among the most common infections in humans, caused by a group of parasites, referred to as worms, including roundworms, whipworms and hookworms. These intestinal worms can seriously affect the nutrition and growth of the child. A child may undergo deworming regularly to remove the intestinal worms. Such worms need to be killed, otherwise, they can multiply and lay eggs in the intestine causing major damage to the body. Some of those intestinal parasites may even be fatal and should therefore not be overlooked. Worms also make the child more vulnerable to diseases such as intestinal obstruction and reduce the ability to sufficiently absorb vitamins. Parasitic worms also sometimes allow the child to become malnourished and/or stunted even without obvious symptoms.

Symptoms of stomach worms in children:

The common symptoms a child is likely to experience if these worms affect him/her are complains of a sore tummy, anaemia, diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea, fatigue and lethargy, constant coughing, frequent and painful urination, trouble in sleeping due to irritating itchiness, rashes, itching in the anal region, being hungry all the time, bouts of hunger strike or loss of appetite (loss in weight) and rare occurrences of blood during diarrhoea or in the stool.

Importance of Deworming:

Deworming helps to remove worms and any infection that might disturb the patient and it is important for those infected by these worms. However, its effectiveness still stays under review. Deworming is thought to improve the health of the child by enabling them to consume the necessary nutrients needed by the body, thereby helping the child to battle malnutrition and gain weight.

WHO recommends that school children in endemic areas be treated regularly with drugs that kill those worms and thus either help eliminate or significantly reduce infections. While a single dose of deworming drugs has been reported to display weight gain over a few months, there is insufficient evidence to determine whether the medication has additional effects on haemoglobin, general physical well-being and cognitive functioning.

As far as community deworming programs are considered where it has not been observed that all children residing in endemic areas with a dose of the drug are very beneficial in helping the child gain weight.

Treatment for stomach worms in children:

Based on the factors such as child’s age, type of worm that has infested the intestines, the infections caused by the worm etc, treatment is recommended. Some commonly used medicines include:

  • Mebendazole is used to treat a variety of worm infections in children
  • Pyrantel is a safe deworming medicine for kids
  • Reese’s Pinworm is medicine is for older kids
  • Zentel 400mg is a worming medicine for kids above two years of age
  • Zentel Suspension is a deworming syrup for kids aged under two years.

Note: Deworming medicine shouldn't be taken without supervision, this can cause complications in children.

Being a short and quick treatment, the deworming tablets for children usually kill the parasites and cause no other harsh damage to your child’s body.

How does the treatment work?

Albendazole, a deworming tablet is given twice a year to the child to destroy the parasitic worms. By following this, the children expel worms through stool and will be able to absorb necessary vitamin A and other nutrients when free from parasitic worms.

How do children get affected?

Intestinal worms or parasites are usually found among children exposed to the unclean environment, and mostly in direct contact with the soil.

Soil is likely to be contaminated with worm-eggs or larvae in areas that lack sanitation or are populated by animals. Children who play in these areas or those who roam barefoot are likely to be affected by these worms. Dirty hands, tools, toys or food are easy transmission instruments for these parasites, which can go from the contaminated soil to the mouth of the child and eventually inside the body and intestine.

Some tips to prevent stomach worms in children include:

  • Maintain a clean surrounding
  • Inculcate clean habits in the child, whenever he/she comes from playing
  • Educate the child to not play barefoot in the grass, mud or outdoor areas
  • Assure that the child only uses clean and hygienic swimming pools
  • Avoid the infested fruit or vegetable. Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly before the child eats them
  • Do not let the child consume raw meats, semi-cooked vegetables which could have worms in them
  • Unless it is safe, let the child have no water from public tanks. Try drinking boiled water

It is therefore important to manage a clean and healthy environment for children so that they can be rescued from these worms and are therefore not in need of deworming and can lead a healthier life.

For any queries, consultation or treatment related to worms, please visit the best children hospital in Bangalore.

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