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ASCARIASIS

Ascariasis is an infection in the small intestine caused by a parasitic roundworm “Ascaris Lumbricoides”.  Ascaris is a large roundworm that grows over 12 inches in length. It is the most common roundworm infection. People usually get this parasite through consumption of food without proper washing of hands. The parasite can also spread when you drink unsafe water. It can also transmit when vegetables grown in the soil are not properly cooked and washed.

The parasite can penetrate the intestinal tract. From there, the parasite can go to the lungs and into the air sacs and throat.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Literally, the infection has shown no symptoms. The symptoms may become noticeable when the worm starts to grow. Symptoms include:

Roundworms in the stomach

  • Vomiting, nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Worm in the stool
  • Weight loss
  • Impaired growth among children

Roundworm in the lungs

  • Gagging or coughing
  • Fever
  • Chest discomfort
  • Blood in the mucus
  • Shortness of breath

RISK FACTORS

The following are the risk factors of this infection:

  • People that live in tropical areas.
  • Poor hygiene and sanitation
  • Eating food with dirty hands.

COMPLICATIONS

Heavy infestation can infect other parts of the body and can lead to a more serious problem such as:

  • Duct blockage-the worm blocks the passageway to the pancreas and liver.
  • Intestinal blockage- a mass of worm blocks the intestine causing vomiting and severe pain.
  • Loss of appetite and poor nutrient absorption.

DIAGNOSIS

Doctors can diagnose ascariasis by examining the stool sample for parasites.

If the infection is heavy, doctors may suggest you undergo the following imaging tests:

  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound
  • CT Scan
  • MRI Test

PREVENTION

The most important measure to prevent this kind of infection is a safe disposal of human waste. Other safety measures to prevent getting this infection include:

  • Proper washing of hands with soap and water before handling food.
  • Washing hands with soap and water after cleaning pig pens, and pig manure.
  • Practicing a proper hygiene.
  • Teaching and practicing a good sanitation.
  • Avoid ingesting soil that contains human and pig feces which used as fertilizers.
  • Warned the kids to avoid putting their hands in their mouth without washing them.
  • Wash and cook the vegetables properly especially those that have grown in the soil and fertilized with manure.
  • Peel and wash the fruits properly before consuming them.

TREATMENTS

Doctors may prescribe the following medications to treat ascariasis infections:

  • Albendazole – this should be taken with food.
  • Mebendazole
  • Ivermectin – this should be taken with an empty stomach with water.
  • Pyrantel Pamoate – this drug is used to treat pregnant women.
  • Piperazine Citrate

Natural Home Remedies used to treat Ascariasis:

The following can also help in treating this infection:

  • Garlic
  • Unriped Papaya
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Carom Seeds
  • Pomegranate Tree Bark
  • Bamboo Leaves
  • Wormwood