The disease of dirty hands. What are dangerous worms and how to get rid of them?

A person can be a carrier of four hundred species of parasites. Every year, helminths (popularly known as worms) infect millions of people around the world. The problem itself is called "helminthiasis" and is considered very common. How to identify the first signs in time, what are the consequences of ignoring the symptoms, why is it important to consult a doctor before going to the pharmacy, and what should pet owners know? Marina Zeononovna, a parasitologist, answered these questions for us.

worm parasitologist

The most common types of worms are pinworms and roundworms.

Marina Zenonovna, what types of worms should be known in the first place?

I think many have heard of the so-calledenterobiasisis a type of helminthiasis caused by worms of the genuspinworms(medium-sized cavity worm, belongs to the group of white or grayish-white roundworms). According to the latest data, of the most well-known cases, up to 37% of people suffer from the defeat of these worms. Although personally I am sure that the figure is underestimated, since, basically, groups of children are being studied, but adults are also infected.

Secondlyascariasisis a type of helminthiasis caused by roundworms belonging to the class of nematodes, familyround worm(a roundworm of reddish color (after death, the color of the body changes to yellowish-white). Its prevalence in the population is several times lower, but the course of ascariasis is more severe and is characterized by a number of complications serious.

On average, about 20 species of helminths are found in the countries. Also, the infection can be combined when different groups of helminths are detected in the body.

Symptoms of infection rarely appear right away.

Where exactly do these parasites live in the human body?

- Its location is complex, there are many classifications, and depending on the species, in addition to the migration of the larvae, the worms can settle anywhere: in the liver, intestines, lungs and even in the brain.

- Why are helminths dangerous?

- The danger will be determined by the degree of infestation, that is, the number of larvae that have entered the body and their degree of development. Immunity plays an important role, since most parasites already die upon entry due to saliva, gastric juice, enzymes, etc. Those helminths that still managed to survive infect the body and interfere with its harmonious work.

Symptomsin both children and adults it can be very different:

  • lack of appetite;
  • Stomach ache;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • bad breath;
  • persistent runny nose and cough;
  • skin rash;
  • night itching around the anus;
  • navel pain;
  • fatigue


Usually, the above signals are emitted by the body at later stages of the development of the helminthic invasion. In the early stages, it is quite difficult to suspect anything.

Worms don't like onions and garlic.

Why are children thought to be more susceptible to infection than adults?

First, in adults the body is stronger. Immunity tends to be higher and it is better able to deal with intruders.

Secondly, the pH level in the stomach of babies and their parents is different. Children are neutral. In adults, the acidity is higher, and helminths really don't like an acidic environment.

In third placeadults have a different diet. What increases acidity? Onions, garlic, mustard, hot spices, bitter herbs (such as wormwood, trifoli, hypericum) and. . . alcohol. When these products are used, the gastric juice becomes especially caustic, which does not give many parasites that have gotten there a chance to live. Although adults also consume non-thermally processed fish, meat and shellfish, which may contain helminths. This is a certain risk.

With the fashion for a healthy lifestyle, freshly squeezed juices appeared on many people's tables. This is good, they contain phytoncides that inhibit the development of parasites and even kill them. I would recommend paying special attention to carrot, cabbage and beetroot juices.

doctor's opinion on parasites

The feeding of children is supervised by the parents, who are more likely to agree to give the little ones candy than onions (although in small quantities, if the child wants, he may well be allowed to try this vegetable, for course, given the individual characteristics of the baby's health).

Unfortunately, today there is a beautiful and tasty fast food that children love. But such foods are fast and easy to digest carbohydrates, which change the acidity of the stomach not upwards, but only prepare a cozy and pleasant habitat for parasites.

- Which is the treatment?

- You should not make decisions on your own, especially in relation to your children. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pediatrician. The doctor will prescribe an analysis, the results of which will determine whether there is an infection and what its degree is.

For diagnosis, it is necessary to study feces for the presence of helminths (feces in worm eggs). A complete blood count also helps. It speaks of a possible problem: a low hemoglobin content, an increased ESR, an increased number of eosinophils. The modern method of laboratory diagnosis is also effective - an ELISA blood test.

Based on the data obtained, as well as the characteristics of your body or the body of a child, the specialist will select the appropriate drug and (very importantly) its dosage.

Why can't you go to the pharmacy and ask for "something for the worms"? We must remember: drugs intended to combat helminths are very toxic. To verify this, just look at the list of possible side effects. Trust me, what you see will surprise you. That is why it is so important that the doctor prescribes the appropriate treatment and, by curing one thing, we do not paralyze another.

Important!Since enterobiasis is characterized by fairly high contagiousness (the property of infectious diseases to be transmitted from sick people or animals to healthy susceptible people (animals), it is necessary to examine the relatives of the infested person. Therefore, treatment may not be needed. only for the person who has helminthiasis, but also for all family members (adults, children, and even pets).

Worms live long enough in an open environment, they are transmitted by contact and through objects from an infested person to a healthy person. That is why personal hygiene is so important.

Nursing mothers and pregnant women should take special care

- Are these medications prescribed for pregnant women?

- Helminthiasis is an extremely undesirable situation for pregnant women. It would be nice to try to check everything and solve the problem at the stage of pregnancy planning.

If, however, the infection is revealed, of course, the process cannot be started. The problem needs to be addressed. There are no special anthelmintic drugs for pregnant women. Therefore, the doctor, having carefully studied the woman's condition, will take the path of least resistance. She must choose an individual treatment regimen that is effective, but at the same time gentle on the body in each case.

- Are worms transmitted from mother to child through milk?

- No. Milk, on the other hand, contains immunoglobulins that protect the child. But after all, the mother is in contact with the baby, so through touch, bottles, clothes, etc. , she can still transmit the larvae of the parasite.

prescribe antiparasitic treatment

By the way, I think everyone understands that if a nursing mother was prescribed an anthelmintic drug, she should be warned that during this period it is necessary to transfer the child to artificial nutrition, since toxic substances from the drug taken are also excreted along with Milk. The baby's body is not prepared for such a serious load.

Dog worms are more dangerous to humans than cat worms.

How often should I get tested for worms?

— Expert opinions differ here. Many epidemiologists believe that it is necessary to carry out the administration of courses of prophylactic drugs to entire groups (in kindergartens, schools, labor institutions). But after all, if at least one person rejected these actions, they don't make much sense. Even if there is only one infested, as I said, the chances of further spread of helminths are very high.

But this does not mean that it is not worth examining your body from time to time and helping it if something is suddenly wrong. An outbreak of the disease is usually observed in spring (April-May) and autumn (October-November). During these periods, it would be good to contact a paediatrician, a therapist on your own, get tested and check if everything is okay, and at the same time (if we are talking about children) when a problem is identified, it would be good to warn the teacher of the problem. group in the kindergarten or to the teacher in the school about this so that they inform all other parents and take action.

- Are helminths transmitted from animals to owners?

— Yes, and cats, as a rule, transmit more of their species than dogs, but the latter's helminths are more serious. For example, dogs can causetoxocariasisin a personThis is a helminthiasis from the group of nematodes, characterized by fever, bronchitis, pneumonia, hepatosplenomegaly, eosinophilia.

doctor answers questions about parasites

I still don't understand why we don't strictly control that there are more separate areas for pet walking and why owners don't clean up after their pets outside like in all civilized countries. After all, it is mainly thanks to dog feces that helminths spread throughout the district. And, you see, "mines" can often be found near playgrounds. So it turns out that there is no dog at home, and the boy has a bunch of characteristic worms.

If you have a pet, remember the following rules:

  • do not kiss pets;
  • do not leave them in your bed;
  • do not forget to wash your hands often, especially before eating;
  • timely check the animal at the veterinarian;
  • if the dog has worms, consult a doctor, most likely, the whole family will need to take the medicine;
  • try to walk your pets in the right place.

I want to draw the attention of lovers of everything unusual to the fact that before buying an exotic animal, study in detail information about its physiology, make sure that it is healthy, know about possible risks. After all, turtles, monkeys, iguanas, lemurs, etc. they can bring parasites into your home that our bodies are not familiar with. All this sometimes leads to great difficulties in both diagnosis and treatment.