Intestinal worms or other worms in humans are an invasion that affects the entire body. This disease is caused by infection by worm eggs and larvae and is characterized by a number of specific symptoms.
Diagnosis is made through several tests, both in feces and blood. Worms in the abdomen and other organs occur in adults and children, may appear in the anus, feces, or not manifest at all.
Intestinal worms are mainly transmitted via the fecal-oral route, that is, for infection, it is necessary to swallow the parasite eggs or the worm larvae. An unpleasant feature of this invasion is that some types of helminths in children and adults remain outside the host body for a long time (eg, in water, in soil).
The parasite eggs that the adults lay there continue to be infected for several months. This characteristic leads to the fact that some types of worms in children and adults are very common.
The main routes of infection are as follows:
- Infection from the use of untreated water, which can stay in a well, in a natural reservoir, and even flow from the tap. Almost all intestinal parasites in humans survive and multiply in water for a long time, so it's best to drink bottled water. In areas unfavorable to sanitary conditions, well water can only be used after prolonged boiling;
- The appearance of a worm on a baby's bottom can occur as a result of eating an unwashed vegetable. If compost was used to fertilize the soil, which was infected with worms, then its larvae, eggs and adults appear and survive for a long time in the soil. Along with the soil particles, the eggs fall on the vegetables. If such a vegetable is poorly washed, they will enter the host's body, causing helminthic invasion of the person;
- Swelling and other characteristic symptoms of infestation can occur after eating contaminated meat, fish or chicken. If an animal, bird or fish has been infested by helminths during its lifetime, then its flesh is likely infected as well, while parasites (eg fish) easily take root in the human body. You can only eliminate them as a result of careful and prolonged heat treatment of the meat (boiling or frying at maximum temperatures). You can also defeat the invasion by freezing. But since most modern home freezers are capable of providing a maximum temperature of about 8 degrees Celsius, it's necessary to keep meat, fish or poultry there for at least a week;
- Signs of worm infection in humans may appear after contact with a pet. Street dogs and cats often have stomach worms (house cats are generally not infected). When performing hygiene procedures, the animal spreads the anus worm eggs throughout the coat. If you kiss such an animal or do not wash your hands after contact with it, you can catch worms in the human body, as animal invasions take root and multiply in the human body;
- A person may notice swelling and other signs of the presence of helminths, even after swimming in an infected lake. This is a very rare method, but infection is possible;
- The transmission of helminthiasis in humans from one individual to another occurs through surfaces, towels, sheets. Eggs and larvae move to the surface or skin tissue of an infected person and from there migrate to the skin of a healthy person when touched. After that, there is a probability of taking them into the oral cavity of a healthy person and the development of infection.
Remember that many types of intestinal parasites are common in groups of children. This is because many children are not overly concerned with hygiene and many surfaces in kindergartens are covered with helminth eggs, the picture of which is shown below, even if only one child was initially ill.
For this reason, the main task of parents is to explain to the baby that all types of worms in humans are dangerous and can persist on the skin of the hands and enter the mouth from there. That's why good hygiene is important. A video about the spread of the earthworm in women, men and children and the peculiarities of its development is posted at the end of the material.
Some patients are interested in the color of the worms and how to visually determine what they are in the stool. They are mostly white or pale worms, although sometimes clear worms are also found in humans. They are flat or round, sometimes with two dark food channels on the sides.
- The largest human worms are called tapeworms. The largest of this group is the bull tapeworm. According to scientific research, they can live in the intestine for up to 40 years and reach several meters in length.
- Roundworms are the most common type of pest, which belongs to roundworm nematodes. Can these individuals be very large? Females reach a length of about 25 cm, males - 12 cm;
- Pinworms are more common in children than in adults. They are small individuals, similar in description to roundworms, but smaller. The largest moth barely reaches 10-12 cm;
- Giardia is the smallest type of parasite. It's quite common. If it's found in the stool, you need to think about what to do with the worms and start choosing a treatment;
- Trichinosis invasions are characterized by the most severe course, fever and facial edema are present. These invasions are called Trichinella nematodes.
The most common types of individuals have common features and are visible in the stool. Therefore, the stool of a person with worms can be distinguished from the stool of someone who is not infected.
Some people who suspect they have an invasion are interested in where the worms are located in the human body. While worms are traditionally believed to occur in the human body, in the intestines, this is not entirely true.
Almost all varieties of helminths in humans can develop in various organs and systems, which is associated with the peculiarities of their migration, when larvae hatched from eggs in the intestine enter the bloodstream and spread with it throughout the body.
They enter the human body through the mouth, but their manifestation can occur in the following places:
- Subcutaneous parasites are not a very common type of tropical parasite carried by insects (tsetse flies, specific tropical mites, etc. ). Parasites under the skin are almost never found in the middle range, but there is a risk of infection during an excursion. These parasites are located under the skin only in the early stages of their life cycle, after which they can move into the muscles;
- A common place where location is seen in women is the vagina, the uterus. They can crawl there from the anus or infect the reproductive system in the migratory phase;
- Worms in the ears of babies or adults are also found because the larvae often infect the ENT organs (including the throat);
- Many worms choose the digestive system and intestines as their location. There they have enough nutrition (blood and serum) and oxygen to support a normal life. Treating intestinal parasites is usually easier than others. But even if they were initially in a person's stomach, over time they can infect other organs;
- The signs of worms in the lungs can be confused with the characteristic symptoms of pleurisy or pneumonia. However, this is a common location for worms, so it is important to timely diagnose its presence;
- If parasites settle in the brain, the nervous system is damaged. It can manifest as seizures, irritability, irrational anxiety, etc. ;
- If the worms in people manifest in the heart, tachycardia, rhythm disturbances, and more are possible. In especially severe cases, heart failure occurs;
- In the liver, helminths are also common, as it is there that they originate mainly from the intestines via the portal vein.
As seen above, patients wondering where the worms live in humans must consider not only the type of invasion but also the stage of infection.
Is it important to know where the worms lead and what will happen if you don't treat them? Worms cause general body intoxication, which can be very pronounced.
Symptoms of an allergic nature also appear, as the immune system produces histamines to defend against foreign invasions. In that case, you need to remember what an allergic skin rash looks like with helminths - they are medium-sized pink patches, sometimes hives, itchy, usually absent.
As with the liver location, and when located in other organs, a human tapeworm or other parasite causes damage to the mucous membrane and local inflammatory processes in a small area.
As a result, an abscess can occur (in the case of the liver, with an eruption of pus in the abdominal cavity and blood poisoning if left untreated).
As with the bronchi and lungs, coughing often appears. Then comes bronchitis, pleurisy or pneumonia, which must be treated with antibiotics, despite being a reaction to the invasion.
With the location of the parasites in the vagina, exacerbations of chronic diseases and microflora disorders can arise. It is believed that this phenomenon can lead to infertility.
The symptoms of worms in humans are varied, but they are characteristic of almost all types of parasites. However, chronic and acute infections can have different symptoms in adults. In acute infection, the following disease symptoms are characteristic:
- High temperature in normal general state (up to 38 degrees);
- Chills and fever-like skin symptoms (rash);
- When larvae are located in the lungs or bronchi, symptoms in the body are expressed by coughing;
- Inflammatory processes are signs of the presence of worms in the human body, therefore, there is an increase in lymph nodes;
- Worms and allergies in an individual are associated, therefore, signs of worms appearing in a person are possible in the form of rashes and allergic reactions.
But most of the time the symptoms of the presence of worms in humans are intestinal, since that is where the parasite is most frequently located. These are the symptoms of worm infection in an individual, such as:
- Stool disorders - constipation or diarrhea, sometimes bloody;
- The first symptoms of worms are loss of appetite, nausea, aversion to certain types of food, which ultimately leads to weight loss;
- The first signs of worms in adults can also be flatulence and bloating;
- Over time, pain in the abdomen and stomach develops, not depending on food intake, intermittent or constant;
- With worms, a person develops symptoms of general intoxication - pallor, drowsiness, chronic fatigue, etc.
Skin parasites cause specific symptoms in adults and children. A sign of worms is numbness in the extremities, tingling of the skin, headache, dizziness, much less frequently - fever. In any case, the incubation period of the worms in humans is quite long and can last from several weeks to several months.
For this reason, the first signs of worms in a person may not appear right away. And since almost any symptom of a person's presence of worms can indicate other illnesses, often if a person has worms, it only becomes clear when they enter the stool.
Even though you know how worms appear, you may not notice their appearance. Some types of worms take a long time to appear and diagnosis of worms in humans cannot be done at home. In laboratories, the following methods are used to help determine if there are worms, whose symptoms and treatment are discussed in this article:
- General blood analysis. Worms can be in case there are deviations in it. It looks like severe anemia - a significant decrease in iron and hemoglobin levels. It occurs because the worms in humans cause local bleeding, constantly damage the mucous membranes and are also parasites that feed directly on the blood;
- If the worms are in the intestines, their waste will be present in the stool. What signs of worms in an individual are visible in the stool? They are eggs, larvae or even adults of parasites. Although, if you know what worms look like in humans, adults in the stool can be independently identified;
- Regardless of where worms come from in humans and what kind of worms in humans (protozoa, round worms, ribbon worms) antibodies against them appear in the blood. This is because once a person has worms, the immune system considers them a foreign invasion and tries to defend itself by producing antibodies. This method helps establish what types of worms are present and what symptoms to expect, as different antibodies are produced for each invasion.
The latter method of diagnosis is especially good because it allows you to learn about worms at an early stage, identify the types of worms and find out how to treat them in humans.
Some of these patients who are interested in what human worms look like and how they enter the body also want to know how to cure them individually. The official drug treatment regimen for worms in adults involves a single dose of an anthelmintic medicine that works throughout the body when a person has worms.
It is also desirable to repeat the course of treatment in adults 2-3 weeks after the medications are first used. It is necessary to poison the small and large infestations twice to completely get rid of the larvae.
Another treatment is suggested if the worms are in children. As drugs are toxic, treatment in adults has a negative effect on the liver. For children, medications are prescribed that can be taken in a short course (several times), which lessens the load on the liver.
Some who wonder how to treat worms in an individual opt for popular fighting methods when worms in an adult or child are eliminated by natural means.
A mixture of ground pumpkin seeds with honey in a one-to-one ratio is believed to be effective against worms if consumed daily in one tablespoon.
Effective treatment is carried out with enemas of a garlic-milk solution. You can also be treated for worms in your intestines by drinking a similar solution. In the presence of worms in a person, symptoms will begin to become weaker after a week.
Knowing where the worms come from, where the pinworms come from, you can determine a list of rules that must be followed to protect yourself from worms in humans. In order not to ask the question "I have worms", it is worth doing the following:
- Wash vegetables and fruits well;
- Boil or fry the meat well, you can also freeze it for a long time;
- Use only bottled or purified water for drinking;
- Limit contact with pets and regularly prevent helminth infestation;
- Wash your hands regularly, especially after being in public places.
If infection is suspected, it is advisable to regularly examine the stool for the presence of helminths.