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Worm infections (worms)

  1. Worm infections are annoying. Both Dutch and tropical worms can cause various symptoms: from itching from pinworms to intestinal complaints from a tapeworm or roundworm or moving rashes from mine or threadworms. How do you get these parasites and how do you treat worm infections so that you get rid of them quickly?

  2. Worm infections are annoying. Both Dutch and tropical worms can cause various symptoms: from itching from pinworms to intestinal complaints from a tapeworm or roundworm or moving rashes from mine or threadworms. How do you get these parasites and how do you treat worm infections to get rid of them quickly?

What are worm infections?

  1. Humans can carry different types of worms. These parasites get their food from your body. They cause damage in various organs, such as your intestines or your skin. Worms that occur naturally in the Netherlands include roundworms (also called pinworms), roundworms (Ascaris), tapeworms (Taenia solium) and herring worms (Anisakis). Whipworms (Trichuris), hookworms (Ankylostoma), pinworms (Filaria) and Schistosoma (Bilharzia) are worms that are mainly taken by travelers from the tropics. They are therefore rare in the Netherlands.

Causes

  1. Worms like to lay their eggs in your intestines. Unhygienic conditions, such as inadequate hand washing, can cause you to ingest worm eggs through your food. This happens, for example, with the whipworm. Raw meat and unwashed vegetables and fruits are possible sources of worms. You also get an infection with pinworms by swallowing the small worm eggs, which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Some worm infections come from direct contact with animals that carry the worms. Dogs can carry whipworms and roundworms. Pigs can infect you with tapeworms, roundworms and whipworms. Herring worms are found in all kinds of marine fish, such as herring, mackerel and cod. Pinworms are transmitted by biting flies, which are mainly found in Africa.

  2. Worms like to lay their eggs in your intestines. Unhygienic conditions, such as insufficient hand washing, can cause worm eggs to be ingested through your food. This happens with the whipworm, for example. Raw meat and unwashed vegetables and fruits are possible sources of worms. You also get an infection with pinworms by swallowing the small worm eggs, which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Some worm infections come from direct contact with animals that carry the worms. Dogs can carry whipworms and roundworms. Pigs can infect you with tapeworms, roundworms and whipworms. Herring worms are found in all kinds of marine fish, such as herring, mackerel and cod. Pinworms are transmitted by biting flies, which are mainly found in Africa.

Symptoms

  1. Worms can be in different places in your body and cause complaints there. Pinworms are mainly located in your rectum and around your anus. They are small white worms about half an inch long that come out in the evening and cause severe itching around the anus. The itching can be so bad that it makes you sleep badly. Sometimes you get mild intestinal complaints, such as diarrhea or stomach pain. Various worms, such as tapeworms and roundworms, can be in your intestines. They then cause abdominal complaints such as stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss. Sometimes (parts of) worms are visible in your stool. Some worms move around your body. Examples include roundworms and Schistosoma. They can cause different symptoms: fever flu feeling headache skin rash (hives) lung complaints such as coughing and shortness of breath joint pain damage to your liver, with jaundice (jaundice) and itching seeing eye complaints as bad damage to your kidneys and urinary tract, causing you to urinate blood Threadworms are often in your skin, which can make you itchy. The worms cause swellings under the skin that can move. Usually they are in the skin of the lower abdomen, buttocks and groin. Hookworms also give an itchy rash that moves. Sometimes you get blisters or the skin discolored.

  2. Worms can be located in different places in your body and cause complaints there. Pinworms are mainly located in your rectum and around your anus. They are small white worms about half an inch long that come out in the evening and cause severe itching around the anus. The itching can be so bad that you sleep badly. Sometimes you get mild intestinal complaints, such as diarrhea or stomach pain. Various worms, such as tapeworms and roundworms, can be in your intestines. They then cause abdominal complaints such as stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss. Sometimes (parts of) worms are visible in your stool. Some worms move around your body. Examples include roundworms and Schistosoma. They can cause different symptoms: fever flu feeling headache skin rash (hives) lung complaints such as coughing and shortness of breath joint pain damage to your liver, with jaundice (jaundice) and itching seeing eye complaints as bad damage to your kidneys and urinary tract, causing you to urinate blood Threadworms are often in your skin, which can make you itchy. The worms cause swellings under the skin that can move. Usually they are in the skin of the lower abdomen, buttocks and groin. Hookworms also give an itchy rash that moves. Sometimes you get blisters or discolour the skin.

How is the diagnosis made?

  1. Do you think you have a worm infestation? Then go to your doctor. He or she asks what symptoms you have. Your doctor will also check whether there are certain risk factors that could cause you to have a worm infection, such as contact with animals or a trip to the tropics. If you suffer from pinworms, further investigation is usually not necessary. If your doctor thinks of an intestinal worm infection, he or she may recommend that you have your stool tested in the lab.

Risk factors

  1. People who come into contact with animals (pigs, dogs, cats) a lot, whether professionally or as a hobby, have an increased risk of worm infections. Pinworms are common in children, but you can get them at any age. Poor hygiene, especially insufficient hand washing, causes the eggs to spread. Food that has not been heated enough can also contain worm eggs.

Treatment

  1. Good hygiene is important to prevent worm infections. Wash your hands regularly, at least before eating, after every toilet visit and after gardening. Clean the toilet seat, door handles and children's toys regularly. Avoid scratching itchy areas and keep your nails short to avoid skin infections from scratching. Do you have pets? The advice is to deworm cats and dogs twice a year. Keep sandboxes closed so dogs and cats cannot defecate in them. To prevent worm infections from your food, it is best to cook meat and fish well and wash fruit and vegetables well. In the tropics, only drink bottled or boiled water. Do not eat uncooked vegetables and peel your fruit yourself. Avoid dairy products and ice cream unless you are sure it comes from a tightly closed container. Do not swallow bathing water, as it can also contain parasites. There are several medications for worm infections. If you have pinworms, you can buy a cure of worms (mebendazole) from the drugstore or pharmacy without a doctor's prescription. You swallow one tablet and after two weeks another one to ensure that all worms are killed. Do you still have complaints afterwards? Then go to your doctor. See your doctor if you have symptoms that indicate a worm other than pinworms. He or she can prescribe various worm-killing medications. Examples are mebendazole, albendazole, niclosamide, praziquantel and ivermectin. Some of these medications only need to be taken once or twice, but sometimes a course of several days is necessary to make sure that you no longer suffer from the worms.

Forecast

  1. Worm infections do not disappear by themselves. A worm cure often helps to kill all worms quickly, so that your complaints will be less within a few days. You can often treat pinworms yourself. Sometimes it is necessary to treat everyone in the house if pinworms keep returning. For roundworms, it may be wise to also have pets treated. Especially tropical worms you can have no complaints for a long time. However, the worms do cause damage in your body, so your symptoms can be serious once they reveal themselves. In some cases, the worms cause permanent symptoms. However, most people completely recover from a worm infection. Sources)

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