Worm eggs are microscopic in size. Invisible to the eye, they can be everywhere - in the floor, on transport ramps, door handles, in a children's sandbox, on our pet's fur.
How to prevent a worm infection or, if it has occurred, how to avoid dangerous complications?
Symptoms of helminths in humans
No one can consider themselves immune to infection by worms. Even with the strictest observance of hygiene rules. To minimize the risk of infection, you should be as informed as possible about the symptoms of helminths in humans, the prevention and treatment of helminthic infestations.
The most common helminths:
Ascaris.Parasites belong to the class of nematodes, roundworms in cross section. The length of the female reaches 350 mm, the males are much smaller. Roundworms are dangerous both at the intestinal stage and at the migratory stage.
Intestinal localization of parasites in complicated forms can lead to blockage of the intestine, exit of adult roundworms into the respiratory tract with the risk of asphyxiation, blockage of the bile ducts and other complications. The migratory stage threatens the penetration of the larvae into the lungs and other organs with the appearance of serious pathologies.
Ascariasis infection occurs through parasite eggs that leave the patient's intestines with feces and mature in the soil to the invasive stage.
- Diphyllobotrium latum.This is a class of cestodes, one of whose representatives is a large tapeworm. Their peculiarity is that they have 3 owners. The main organism in which worms develop to a sexually mature individual is a person and some animals (cats, dogs, pigs, etc. ). The intermediate hosts of diphyllobotrium latum are freshwater crustaceans. Extra intermediate - fish (perch, pike, monkfish). The large tapeworm is infected by eating undercooked fish infested with parasite larvae - plerocercoids.
Pinworms.They are nematodes, like roundworms, but much smaller in size. The female has a length of up to 10 mm, the male - up to 5 mm. Enterobiasis is one of the most common helminthiasis. Children are particularly sensitive to it.
The most characteristic manifestation of enterobiasis is itching in the anus. It is explained by the exit of the females in the perianal zone for the laying. In the folds of the skin, the embryos reach the invasive stage in 5 to 6 hours. Putting them on your hands while scratching and then swallowing leads to reinfection.
Routes of infection
Methods of worm infection are determined by the invasive form of the parasite and the ways of their penetration into the host organism.
Most parasitic worms have two infectious forms - eggs (in some cestodes they are called oncospheres) and larvae. These are sometimes called Finns or Cysticerci. The eggs are microscopic in size, usually several tens of micrometers. The larvae can reach a size of several to several tens of millimeters.
Most often, worms are infected orally - through the mouth.But some types of parasites can be invaded through the skin or through insect bites. When the eggs are swallowed, the embryos they contain shed their shells, enter the intestinal wall into the bloodstream, and are carried by the blood throughout the body. Depending on the type of parasite, they can settle in the liver, lungs, heart, pancreas, kidneys, brain, eyes.
When infected with larvae, the intestinal localization of the parasite most often occurs. Due to their considerable size, the larvae cannot penetrate the vessels and migrate with the blood. They remain in the intestine, attach themselves to its wall and reach a sexually mature state, after which they begin to multiply.
Worm eggs usually leave the gastrointestinal tract with feces. In some cases, for example, with cestodosis, the evacuation of eggs from the intestinal tract can be carried out by fragments of worms - proglottids. They leave the intestines alone through the anus.
The main types of helminthic lesions
The effectiveness of the treatment of helminths in humans depends on how accurately the clinical picture and the nature of the lesion inflicted by the parasites on the body are determined. And they, in turn, depend on the stage of invasion - intestinal or migratory.
Intestinal invasion phase.In the intestinal stage, the main damage is caused to the patient's digestive system, in particular to the gastrointestinal tract. Worms damage the intestinal mucosa with their suckers. This leads to inflammatory processes and disruption of the functionality of the gastrointestinal tract.
Apart from the fact that some of the nutrients are absorbed by the worms, the absorption function of the intestines is also impaired.Due to the release of anti-enzymes by parasites, the digestive capacity of the gastrointestinal tract is reduced. All this leads to a deficiency in the patient's body of nutrients, vitamins and trace elements.
In addition to antienzymes, worms secrete other metabolites which act as toxins on the host organism. Added to this is the decomposition of the bodies of dead worms. As a result, the patient's body is subject to severe intoxication.
Some types of parasitic worms are able to penetrate from the gastrointestinal tract into adjacent organs and tissues - the bile ducts, gallbladder, liver parenchyma and other systems. Adult roundworms, for example, with a high intensity of infection, are able to enter the respiratory tract of the host. With a large number of parasites, mechanical blockage of the intestine is possible. This can be seen with both roundworms and tapeworms.
When parasitic worms enter the liver parenchyma, abscesses may develop, requiring surgery. Perforation of the intestine with the penetration of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract into the abdominal cavity and the development of peritonitis are not excluded. Due to the harmful effect of adult worms, pancreatitis, cholecystitis and cholangitis may develop.
migratory phase.Due to the possibility of penetration of larval embryos into almost all organs, the migratory stage of invasion may exceed the intestinal phase in terms of the severity of the consequences.
The larvae that develop from the eggs in the organs and tissues form inflammations and infiltrates. If this happens in the lungs, the invasion is manifested by bronchitis, pneumonia, asthmatic syndrome.
If parasite eggs enter the brain (as do, for example, cestode oncospheres), single or multiple blistered Finns are formed in its tissues. Their size can reach the size of a tennis ball. Due to the proximity of cysts to brain tissue, their surgical removal is associated with a high risk of purulent bladder rupture and the development of secondary infection.
Intoxication of the patient's body with metabolites of live worms and toxins from the decay of their corpses leads to allergic reactions. Their result is fever, skin manifestations, headaches and dizziness.
Symptoms of helminth infection depend on many factors. There are manifestations characteristic of a certain type of invasion, but they are few.Most parasitic worms show symptoms similar to those of other diseases.This makes it difficult to establish a diagnosis. These common symptoms include the following:
- Total deterioration of condition, physical and mental weakness.
- Nausea Vomiting.
- Stool disorder, constipation and diarrhoea.
- Discomfort, heaviness, abdominal pain of various locations.
- Change in appetite up or down.
- Weight loss without explanation. Including against the background of an increase in the amount of food consumed.
- Itching in the perianal region, sensation as if something were moving there.
- Allergic manifestations in the form of skin rashes.
- Difficulty breathing, asthmatic syndrome.
- Bruxism. Teeth grinding during sleep is typical for children who have itching in the anus.
- Increased excitability, irritability, insomnia, chronic fatigue, depression.
- High temperature, most often subfebrile. But sometimes it rises to high values.
At the initial stage of the invasion, the symptoms may be completely absent or be so insignificant that they are not given much importance. In the future, with an increase in the intensity of the disease, the symptoms become more pronounced.
Symptoms of helminths in human blood may vary depending on the organ on which the migrating embryos have settled.If the place of their localization turned out to be the lungs, the patient may have a fever, breathing problems may occur.Usually, in these cases, the infection is accompanied by a cough - unproductive or with sputum, which may have an orange color. The latter suggests that the larvae damaged small blood vessels in the lungs.
Symptoms of helminths are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, abdominal heaviness and pain, profuse salivation, stool disorders and weight loss.
Attention.With severe liver invasion, abscesses may develop with a breakthrough of purulent contents into the abdominal cavity. This development of the disease threatens the life of the patient.
Treatment with drugs
Treatment for invasions depends on many factors. The main ones are the type of parasitic worms, the place of their localization, the stage of the disease (migratory or intestinal), the intensity of the infection, the patient's condition. But in any case, treatment should be preceded by the diagnosis of the disease.
The most common diagnostic test for infections caused by parasitic worms is a stool test. If this is not enough to make a diagnosis, a general, biochemical and/or enzymatic immunoassay is carried out.Hardware diagnostics can also be used - ultrasound, x-ray, MRI, etc.Having a full picture of the disease, the doctor prescribes anthelmintic drugs.
Important.Treatment with drugs containing a strong active substance can cause side effects. This limits the use of drugs for certain categories of patients. In particular, for pregnant and lactating women, children under a certain age, patients with certain viral and infectious diseases.
To fight against nematodes localized in the intestine, and to destroy extra-intestinal nematodes, various drugs are prescribed.
Important.Often two treatment cycles are carried out with a break between them of 2-3 weeks. This is because most antiviral drugs only kill adults. Their larvae and eggs remain intact. After the incubation period, a new generation of worms may appear, the destruction of which will require a second course.
The use of folk remedies
Treatment with folk remedies takes longer than drug therapy. But this relative inconvenience is compensated by the mildness of herbal remedies and the absence of side effects.
There are many herbs that have a vermifuge effect - nettle, tansy, celandine, wormwood, horsetail and many others.Antiparasitic plants contain components that are toxic to cestodes, nematodes and trematodes and generally have a bitter taste.
Many anthelmintic herbs are also endowed with antiseptic and antibacterial action. Their effectiveness depends on the correct preparation and administration of the dosage forms. Here are some of the most popular herbal remedies and products. But you must understand that this is only a tiny part of what really exists.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that pumpkin seeds are the most popular deworming medicine. They contain cucurbitine, which is very effective against nematodes and tapeworms. Pumpkin seeds can be used not only for treatment, but also for prevention.
Most of the cucurbitine is contained in the film, which is located between the kernel and the shell.Therefore, the seeds are best eaten unpeeled. For treatment, you need to eat 300 g of seeds at a time. In prevention, 100 g for adults and 70 g for children are sufficient. From pumpkin seeds you can prepare solutions for enemas, effective against worms localized in the large intestine.
Garlic is a universal medicine, the effectiveness of which is not inferior to pumpkin seeds. It contains phytoncides and essential oils, which have a depressing effect on parasitic creatures of all kinds. Garlic is very active against nematodes, especially roundworms.
Parasitic worms do not tolerate alkaline conditions well, so baking soda is an effective medicine against them. It can be taken orally, but the greatest effect of sodium bicarbonate is achieved by preparing an enema solution from it. It should be used when locating nematodes or cestodes in the large intestine.
Honey does not need to be advertised as a medicine, but not everyone knows that it is also effective as a dewormer. To take it for this purpose, you need half a teaspoon 9 times a day.During treatment throughout the day, you must refuse to eat.
The next day, only fresh vegetables are allowed. Since honey has no contraindications and side effects, it can be used to treat young children. It is recommended to give them a glass of sugar water with a teaspoon of honey.
Even official medicine, sometimes very strict on folk remedies, admits that carrot juice has an antihelminthic effect. The amount of juice taken at a time is not limited by any requirements, everything should be reasonable.
Many types of nematodes and cestodes are localized in the intestine. Some laxatives work well against them, especially the well-known castor oil. For adults, this recipe is suitable. 80 ml of cognac is mixed with castor oil and drunk in one gulp before going to bed.
The procedure is done for 3 days. Children at 1-2 o'clock in the morning are given a sweet drink (compote, juice, tea), and after half an hour - 15-30 g of castor oil.
If the parasitic worms do not manifest themselves clearly (for example, in the form of whole individuals or their fragments in the feces), it is almost impossible to determine for yourself the presence of an invasion. Therefore, at the first appearance of symptoms that may indicate an infection, do not hesitate to contact an infectious disease specialist.
In his arsenal there are tools that allow you to establish an invasion with a hundred percent probability. The delay in contacting a clinic or self-treatment based on self-diagnosis can end sadly, even death.