In today's article we will be learning about worms infections and the right medicine to take based on how you feel.
Worms are parasites that enter the body and are able to live and feed off the person they have entered.
There are many types of worms and they are usually divided into three groups:
Roundworms --- Roundworm eggs usually enter the body by the person eating food or drinking water that contains eggs of roundworms. The eggs live and hatch in the gut (intestine).
Tapeworms --- These worms live in the gut. People usually become infected by eating raw or uncooked meat.
Flukeworms --- These worms can live in the blood vessels, gut, lungs or liver. You usually become infected with flukeworms by swimming or washing in fresh water that contains flukeworms.
Most worm infections occur in warm tropical countries or developing countries where food and water may not be clean. It is thought that millions of people around the world are infected with worms at any one time.
Threadworms are spread by being in contact with someone who is already infected with threadworms. Threadworms can cause an itchy bottom.
There are several medicines that may be used to treat worm infections, they are called anthelmintics.
Mebendazole is the most commonly prescribed medicine for worms, it's because it is used to treat threadworms which are the most common worm infections.
Mebendazole -- is also used to treat roundworm, whipworm and hookworm infections.
Praziquantel -- Praziquantel is used to snail fever or bilharzia, an infection of the urinary tract or bowels, caused by blood fluke, a flatworm parasite.
Albendazole -- Albendazole is used to treat some common worm infections that affect the intestines and other parts of the body. Take this medicine with meals, especially with food containing fat, to help your body absorb the medicine better. You may crush or chew the tablet and swallow it with water.
Ivermectin -- Ivermectin oral tablet is used to treat parasitic infections of your intestinal tract, skin, and eyes.
Most medicines used to treat worm infections kill worms by either starving them or paralysing them; for example:
Mebendazole and albendazole work by preventing the worms from absorbing the sugars they need for survival. They kill the worms but not the eggs.
Praziquantel and ivermectin work by paralysing the worms in the gut (intestine). This allows them to be easily dislodged and removed from the gut in the stools (faeces).
In general, the length of treatment is usually quite short. This will depend on what type of worm you have and which medicine has been prescribed. For example, for threadworms, mebendazole is usually given as a single one-off dose. This dose may be repeated two weeks later. For whipworm or common roundworm infections, mebendazole is given twice a day for three days.
For threadworms, it is usually advised that everybody in the household be treated if possible.
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