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By ENYERIBE EJIOGU ([email protected])
Intestinal worms are terrible parasites that show no respect of persons. Just about anybody can be infested with worms. They are like tenants that don’t pay rent yet cause serious damage to the house. Even small parasitic worms can cause pain, discomfort, and illness.
Deworming children allows them to absorb the critical nutrients the body needs, to be healthy and stay that way. That is why healthcare practitioners advise that deworming should be done from time to time, but usually every three months (that is quarterly) or half-yearly. Children infected by worms often do not exhibit visible signs or symptoms.
Other problems associated with worm infestation include: fatigue and lethargy, increased susceptibility to illness and disease; inability to properly absorb vitamins as well as abdominal pain and distention.
How to know that you have worms
Monitor any itching in the abdomen that you feel. If you have worms, you may feel an itching in your abdomen that is not normal. This itchiness occurs because the worms release toxins in your body that your immune system responds to like an allergic reaction.
Look for any rashes on your body. Like the itchiness you feel, another reaction that your immune system will produce is a rash. This is again caused by the toxic fluids that the worms leak into your system that causes a hypersensitive reaction in the form of a rash. The rash will most likely show up as red bumps that might itch.
Pay attention to any pain you feel in your abdomen. Some worms can create an obstruction (or blockage) in your intestines. A few worms will causes ulcers, which in turn can cause severe pain in your abdomen. Worms that can cause obstructions in the intestine include round worms, tapeworms and hookworms.
Monitor any sudden and unexplained weight loss. If you have a worm (or worms) in your body, you may experience sudden weight loss without trying to lose weight. This is because worms extract the nutrients from the food that you eat, which means that you don’t get any of the good nutrients that you normally get when you eat food.
Watch out for gagging or coughing that you experience. These symptoms are most commonly associated with roundworms. This type of worm has a tendency to travel from the stomach, up into the chest area. When they move, they can cause you to gag because they are a foreign body moving through your system.
Look for any blood in your stool. Some types of worms, particularly hookworms, actually hook themselves into the lining of your intestine, which can cause a wound to form. Whether or not the worm moves, the wound will continue to bleed. This blood can make its way through your intestine and into your stool. The blood can show up as a reddish color in your stool, or your stools may look black, signifying older blood.
How to deworm yourself
Deworming, which is also referred to as drenching, is the process of getting rid of intestinal parasites like worms. The most common ways to contract worms is by eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated water. Luckily, there are ways to get rid of worms at home, either by with medication or natural remedies that have been verified through research. Also, there are some unverified but generally effective supplements that can be used.
Deworming with medication
Take albendazole. This medication keeps worms in your body from growing and multiplying while also eliminating the already existing worms. Once you are infected, your doctor will most likely recommend that you take this medication for a year to prevent recurrence of the worms. The drug should be taken with a meal in line with the prescribed dosage. It must be noted that pregnant women and people with chronic diseases like sickle cell anemia should not take this medication.
You could try pyrantel pamoate (which is commonly available in Nigeria as Combantrin. This medication focuses mainly on eradicating pinworms and hookworms. The medication paralyzes the worm’s nervous system, causing the worm to die. The worm then passes out of your stool without further incident. You will only have to take a single dose, but you must follow the prescription stated on the packaging. You can also ask a pharmacist at any licenced pharmacy for advice. Warning: do not take this medication if you are pregnant or have a liver disease.
Give mebendazole a go. This medicine helps to fight whipworm, hookworm, roundworm and pinworm while also working to prevent future worms from entering your system. This medication is taken as a chewable tablet that you can take twice a day for three days.
Take niclosamide. This medication is specifically designed to fight dwarf tapeworm, beef tapeworm and fish tapeworm. Niclosamide singles out the worms and kills them. The worms then pass out of your body through your stool. This medication is not prescribed if you have pinworm or roundworm.
Deworming with verified natural remedies
Eat the seeds of a papaya. The seeds inside a papaya contain carpaine, benzylisothiocyanate, benzylglucosinolate, glucotropacolin, benzylthiourea, hentriacontane, sitosterol, caricin and an enzyme called myrosin, all of which help to kill parasites. They also help the intestines to contract and reduce inflammation caused by the worms. You can eat the seeds whole or dry them and make them into a powder that you can eat with yogurt and honey.
Increase your intake of pineapple. This fruit contains a digestive enzyme called bromelain that specifically combats tapeworms by removing the free radicals the worm produces. The acidity of the pineapple also decreases the amount of glucose available to the worm, which causes it to starve and die.
Mix a banana and lemon juice: Take one banana, mash it up, and mix it with one teaspoon of lemon juice. Bananas act like a natural laxative, which helps to remove worms. The oligosaccharides present in bananas stimulate the intestine to contract, while lemon has antibacterial, antiprotozoal properties that help kill parasites.
Drink pomegranate juice: You can drink five glasses of pomegranate juice a day to cleanse your intestines and rid yourself of parasites. Each glass should contain about eight ounces of pomegranate juice.
Eat pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds contain a compound called as cucurbitacins which paralyze the worms in your body by attacking their nervous system, which causes them to stop growing and eventually die. These seeds also contain several other worm-killing nutrients like flavonoids, palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids. You should eat at least 10 to 15 pumpkin seeds a day.
Take one to two tablespoons of castor oil a day. If you decide to use this method, you should take the castor oil on an empty stomach for a greater effect. The oil induces diarrhea which helps to flush the worms from your symptom. You should talk to your doctor before using this method, as some worms, like hookworms, attach to your intestines and having diarrhea could make them dig in harder and more painfully.
Try different herbs and extracts:
Some herbs and extracts also have worm-killing properties. You can increase the amount of these herbs that you use in your cooking, or take supplements.
The herbs and extract include: •Garlic: Studies have shown that eating one to two cloves of garlic a day can combat intestinal parasites. This is because garlic contains allicin, a broad spectrum antibiotic that kills parasites.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil contains caprylic acid which has medium-chain fatty acids that have anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial components.
Oil of oregano: This extract contains two antimicrobial properties, thymol and carvacrol, which help to manage parasitic infections.