Do you know that tapeworms can reside in your little darling’s intestine? Yes, you heard right! Tapeworms are one of the common reasons for unhealthy and abnormal digestion. But, don’t worry! Read our post and learn all about how tapeworms can affect your child’s digestion.
What Is A Tapeworm Infection?
A tapeworm is a flat worm that resides in the stomach of animals. Tapeworm infections can occur due to eating undercooked meat from infected animals.
Types Of Tapeworms:
Tapeworms in children are of the following types:
- Pork Tapeworm: Eggs of pork tapeworm hatch into larvae in the intestine. These larvae enter the bloodstream by crossing the walls of the intestine. With the help of the blood stream, the larvae move to the other body parts viz. muscles, brain and eyes where they form cysts. The disease is called cysticercosis.
- Fish Tapeworm: The tapeworm resides in the intestine. It can cause anemia as it absorbs vitamin B12 that is essential for making red blood cells in the body. Due to anemia, your child suffers from short of breath or tiredness. In severe cases, the child may feel numbness. In other extreme cases, damage occurs to the central nervous system.
[ Read: Home Remedies For Deworming Children ]
Causes Of Tapeworm Infection In Children:
Some of the main causes of a tapeworm infection in children include:
- Contaminated Food Or Water:
When your kid drinks water or eats food contaminated with tapeworm larvae viz. Beef, pork, uncooked or partially cooked meat, etc. The larvae start growing inside the intestine where they feed and grow to become adult tapeworms.
- Improper Sanitation:
Tapeworm larvae thrive in places that are poor in terms of sanitation. Fecal matter and organic wastes that are not cleared early provide a good environment for tapeworms to spread their colony.
- Unhygienic Toilet Habits:
If your kid is not washing hands after using the bathroom, then it is highly likely that he catch a tapeworm infection. So, show your child how to develop hygienic toilet habits to remain healthy.
[ Read: Healthy Habits For Kids ]
Symptoms Of Tapeworm Infection In Children:
Some common symptoms of tapeworm in children that can be easily spotted include:
- Weight Loss:
As the tapeworm grows, it starts consuming the nutrients essential for the body. As the parasite robs more and more nutrients from your child’s body, your little darling starts showing symptoms of weight loss and fatigue.
- Vomiting And Nausea:
It is one of the common symptoms of a tapeworm infection. As the larvae mature into adults, the feeling of nausea grows stronger and is followed by vomiting in most of the cases.
[ Read: Preventing Nausea In Children ]
- Abdominal Pain:
In many cases, the child can complain of a feeling of inflammation and irritation. The irritation occurs because the tapeworm attaches itself to the walls of the intestine and thrives on the nutrients present there. Also, worms come out of the anus through fecal discharge from the body.
Some Additional Symptoms Include:
- Excessive hunger
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach bloating
- Excessive gas
[ Read: Loss Of Appetite In Children ]
Preventing Tapeworm Infection In Children:
Try these steps to prevent your child from contracting a tapeworm infection:
- Thoroughly cook meat and fish
- Wash hands before eating and after using the washroom
- Drink filtered or boiled water
- Follow good sanitation measures
Treating Tapeworm Infection In Children:
As soon as you see worms in your child’s fecal matter, seek immediate medical attention. If left untreated for a long time, the larvae spread to the other body parts and form cysts.
A dose of the anti-parasite drug is enough to treat the tapeworm in kids. However, if your child’s infection aggravates to cysticercosis, then the doctor may ask you to go for MRI and CT scan. The doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs like steroids to treat cyst formations.
Did your child suffer from a tapeworm infection? What did you do to treat it? Tell us below.
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