A roundworm infection can be favored by inadequate hygienic measures. Appropriate measures are important when controlling nematodes.
What is a roundworm infection?
According to healthknowing.com, so-called nematodes (roundworms) can cause roundworm infections in humans. There are several types of nematodes; Roundworms and pinworms are among the nematodes that most frequently lead to roundworm infections worldwide. The roundworm is mainly found in areas of Africa, East Asia and Latin America.
Although parasites such as nematodes are jointly responsible for most infectious diseases in humans worldwide, the number of people affected by roundworm-caused roundworm infections has been decreasing in Central Europe since the mid-1950s. Symptoms that can be caused by a roundworm infection differ depending on the type of nematode responsible for the roundworm infection.
If a roundworm infection is caused by pinworms, the worm eggs may cause itching in the anus region. A roundworm infection with roundworms can cause stomach pain and diarrhea, but also shortness of breath, for example.
The causes of a roundworm infection differ depending on the type of nematodes involved: A roundworm infection by pinworms usually occurs through a so-called smear or dirt infection from one person to another.
Since pinworms live in the colon of infected people and lay their eggs there, the nematodes can get their hands on the hands if the anus is scratched. Worm eggs are also often found in the feces of people with roundworm infections. For example, when shaking hands, eggs of the nematodes can be transferred, which can lead to a roundworm infection.
A roundworm infection by roundworms usually occurs when the worm eggs are ingested through unclean vegetables; Nematode worm eggs, for example, can get onto vegetables through fertilizing with faeces. Nematode larvae that are ingested with food or larvae that develop from ingested eggs enter the bloodstream of an affected person via the intestines and thus lead to a roundworm infection.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
Symptoms do not automatically occur with every roundworm infection. The symptoms also depend on how many worms the person concerned has been infected with. The type of nematode and where it is located on the body also plays an important role.
Different symptoms are caused, for example, by the roundworms that cross the human organism. If they get into the lungs, they can cause a cough or fever. If they penetrate into the intestines, nausea or abdominal pain are common.
In rare cases, the roundworms block the bile duct or the pancreatic duct, which in turn can lead to inflammation of the pancreas or bile congestion. Furthermore, the one Spulwurmbefall severe symptoms such as can cramps, a appendicitis (appendicitis), a bowel obstruction or a shock trigger.
If an infection with whipworm occurs, bleeding in the intestinal mucosa and anemia are signs of the infestation. If the worm infestation is severe, symptoms such as indigestion, diarrhea, abdominal pain and inflammation of the large intestine often appear. If the absorption of nutrients through the intestines is restricted in children, they are at risk of stunted growth.
Signs of a filarial infection include inflammation and swelling of the lymph nodes, severe swelling of the legs, itching, eye problems, skin lumps and attacks of fever. A roundworm infection with trichinae can be a cause for concern. These are often responsible for chills, high fever, severe muscle pain, rashes and edema of the eyes.
Diagnosis & course
If an affected person has symptoms that suggest a roundworm infection, the treating doctor will usually first ask about the patient’s medical history. The diagnosis of a roundworm infection by nematodes can then usually be made through a microscopic examination of the stool, through which worm eggs can be discovered.
Another way to diagnose a roundworm infection is to smear the anal skin (this is where nematodes lay their eggs). With the help of X-rays or reflections, larvae or adult nematodes may already be detected in the case of a roundworm infection.
With appropriate medical treatment, a roundworm infection can usually be combated successfully. Complications from nematodes can arise if several adult worms cause an intestinal obstruction or if the outflow of bile is restricted.
If a doctor is consulted quickly in the case of a roundworm infection and adequate treatment is initiated, the infection usually heals without further complications. In rare cases, however, it can lead to further problems. One danger is that the roundworms can be transmitted to other people through an anal-oral route and make them sick.
If not treated promptly, an infection can cause massive discomfort in the digestive tract. Nausea, vomiting, colic, general malaise, weight loss, and inflammation are possible consequences. In the worst case, several adult worms will close together and seal the intestines. A so-called ileus is the result.
As a result, the bowel can rupture and the contents of the bowel can spread throughout the body. This condition is very critical and needs immediate treatment. It can be fatal. An obstruction of the bowel can also lead to serious inflammation of the peritoneum. Furthermore, blood poisoning and life-threatening shock conditions cannot be ruled out.
Possible complications can also arise from the blockage of bile ducts. In this case, the bile can only insufficiently drain off, which can lead to further problems. The resulting build-up of bile can severely damage the liver, among other things. This organ is subsequently restricted in its function.
When should you go to the doctor?
If worm eggs or worm components are found in the stool, a doctor should be consulted immediately. A doctor’s visit is particularly urgent if there is bleeding from the intestines, cramps and pain, or if there is violent vomiting. Unusual changes in the stool, itching of the anus and other unusual symptoms also require medical clarification. If the skin and eyes turn yellow, the nematodes may have already attacked the liver – then at the latest, professional advice is required.
It is best to directly examine the whole family and, if necessary, treat them, otherwise there may be a new infection. In general, the following applies: A roundworm infection cannot be treated by oneself, as effective medications require a prescription without exception. So anyone who has a specific suspicion or notices unusual gastrointestinal complaints should speak to a general practitioner.
Other contact persons are the gastroenterologist or – in the case of serious complications – the emergency medical service. With children, the elderly and the sick, go to the nearest hospital if you suspect a roundworm infection.
Treatment & Therapy
In order to successfully treat a roundworm infection, it is important, among other things, to observe various hygienic measures. For example, a roundworm infection usually requires therapeutic treatment of the anal skin of those affected, as the anal area is infested with the eggs of the nematodes.
This control of the eggs of the nematodes is usually carried out with medicinal ointments or tinctures. How often this treatment step is necessary for an affected person mainly depends on the extent of the roundworm infection. After successful therapy, experts recommend a check-up in order to avoid recurring roundworm infections.
In parallel to the medical treatment of the anal skin in the case of a roundworm infection, for example, wearing tight-fitting underwear at night can contribute to the success of the therapy; possible scratching is thus reduced and the eggs of the nematodes are not distributed on the skin. For example, used towels and bed linen can be boiled to kill distributed worm eggs from nematodes.
Outlook & forecast
Patients with roundworm infection have a good prognosis. The pathogens can be treated well in a drug treatment with the available medical options nowadays. Normally, a clear improvement of the symptoms is achieved within a few days after the start of therapy and after 1-2 weeks the symptoms are free. The patient does not suffer any consequential damage and can therefore be released from the treatment as cured.
The observance of additional tips and hints for self-help triggers a shortening of the recovery time. In addition, the healing process is more efficient. Without the use of conventional medical treatment, the existing symptoms can spread. The state of health deteriorates and well-being decreases.
If the worms are mildly infested, an affected person in good health can experience a cure without consulting a doctor. In patients with a stable immune system, the body’s own defenses are able to kill the parasites on their own. They are then removed from the organism and excreted.
Despite the good prospect of recovery, the roundworms can re-infest at any time in the course of life. If it occurs again, the prognosis is also optimistic. It should be noted that the roundworm infection is a highly contagious disease. Good hygiene supports the healing process and reduces the risk of re-infection.
A roundworm infection by nematodes can be prevented above all by observing hygienic measures: It is recommended to thoroughly clean raw vegetables and lettuce. Peeling vegetables that are eaten raw can also reduce the risk of roundworm infection. In order to avoid the transmission of nematodes from person to person, experts also recommend regular hand washing (especially after using the toilet and before handling food).
In the case of a roundworm infection, in most cases the person affected has only a few options for follow-up care. The patient is primarily dependent on the early detection and treatment of the symptoms by a doctor in order to prevent further spread. In most cases this leads to a positive course of the disease and not to a reduced life expectancy for the person affected.
In the case of a roundworm infection, it is advisable to wash all clothing, including bed linen and towels, at a high temperature in order to completely kill the worms. This process should be done immediately after the diagnosis to prevent the worms from spreading. The roundworm infection is usually treated with the help of medication or by applying creams or ointments.
The patient should pay attention to the correct dosage and also to the regular and above all correct intake of the medication. If anything is unclear, a doctor should always be consulted or contacted. After about two weeks, the symptoms of the roundworm infection disappear and there are no further complications. Further aftercare measures are usually not necessary.
You can do that yourself
If an infection with roundworms occurs, the patient can do a few things himself to avoid infecting other people or re-infecting them. First and foremost, this includes consistent hygienic measures.
Washing your hands regularly after using the toilet plays an important role in a roundworm infection. In addition, it is important to clean your hands thoroughly before eating. The anal area must also be cleaned consistently by rinsing it off with water. Each washcloth may only be used once. For this purpose, disposable washcloths or disposable towels, which can also be made of paper, are recommended.
So that the eggs of the roundworms do not get into the patient’s bed, the patient should wear well-fitting underwear at night and when sleeping. The nightwear, like the towels, can be washed in the washing machine in the cooking cycle after use. The bedrooms must also be cleaned thoroughly.
It is also important to cut your fingernails. It is advisable to keep it as short as possible.
If the sick person has a family, the roundworm infection must also be treated. Otherwise there is a risk of renewed infection. In order for the therapy to develop its full effect, it is essential that the patient conscientiously takes the medication prescribed by the doctor until the end of the treatment.