Helminthiasis is a disease that occurs when worms (helminths) appear in the body. Parasites pose a serious threat to life - they worsen its quality, reduce immunity. This is a common disease, since helminths are diagnosed in children and adults. The risk of infection increases with non-compliance with the rules of personal hygiene, weakened immunity, contact with pets. Fans of exotic dishes are also at risk, the ingredients of which are not subjected to sufficient heat treatment.
Causes of helminthiasis
Almost 400 species of helminths can parasitize in the human body, 70 of them are the most common in our country. As a rule, these are round and tapeworms. Often, diseases caused by the penetration of flukes (cat or liver flukes) are detected.
The disease develops when eggs or larvae of parasites enter the stomach. Tapeworms in the period of development from egg to sexually mature individual can change several hosts. You can also get infected by eating meat (beef, pork, game), unfiltered water, dirty vegetables and fruits.
Helminths parasitize in the organisms of mammals, fish, mollusks, amphibians. To avoid infection, you need to stop eating them raw, do not buy smoked or salted fish of unknown origin.
Roundworms go through all stages of development in one carrier. Their larvae, eggs fall into the ground, groundwater with animal feces. Infection usually occurs when hygiene rules are violated, the use of unwashed products. Most often, helminthiasis is diagnosed in children. It is enough to play in the sandbox or grab the handrail of the carousel, and then, without washing your hands, eat an apple. Eggs can also be on the fur of pets, especially homeless ones. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling them.
Pinworms and dwarf tapeworm are transmitted through contact with infected patients through common utensils and hygiene items. You can become infected by inhaling dust containing helminth eggs.
Roundworms (pinworms, roundworms, etc. ) and flatworms parasitize in the human body. There are two types of flat helminths: tapeworms (dwarf, pork, bovine tapeworms, etc. ) and flukes.
Helminths can affect:
- large intestine;
- respiratory system;
- nervous system;
- blood vessels;
- lymph nodes;
- skin and subcutaneous tissue;
Different types of helminths have different life spans. Pinworms live less than a month - they cannot reproduce in the body of the host. Subject to hygiene rules, an infected person recovers in 2-3 weeks. But some types of parasites can live for years, and it is impossible to get rid of them without treatment.
Symptoms of worms
Various types of worms can parasitize in the digestive tract, respiratory organs, lymph nodes, bone and muscle tissues. Their vital activity affects the host organism in different ways. They can produce toxins, provoke the development of inflammatory processes, allergic reactions, anemia, metabolic disorders, and have a traumatic effect on organs and tissues.
Symptoms such as sleep disturbance, headaches, irritability, shortness of breath, bronchospasm, patients rarely associate with parasites. However, attempts to eliminate them by taking traditional drugs do not work. In this case, you need to consult a doctor, take tests. After studying their results, the specialist will be able to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe adequate treatment.
The risk of infection with parasitic worms increases with a weakened immune system, chronic diseases. After infection, a person's condition usually worsens, and chronic diseases worsen. It is difficult for a doctor to determine whether an exacerbation is caused by the change of seasons, a violation of the diet, or other recommendations. Difficulties in diagnosis also occur in people with weakened immune systems.
You need to go to the clinic to identify or exclude helminthiasis with the following symptoms in an adult:
- Temperature rise. It can rise sharply to 38 ° C and decrease for a short time after taking anti-inflammatory, antipyretic drugs. Sometimes the temperature stays at a high level for 2-3 months.
- Dull or cutting pains in the stomach, frequent stool disorders (diarrhea or constipation), nausea.
- Itching in the anus, worse in the evening.
- Frequent colds or respiratory diseases - when infected with helminths, immunity decreases.
- Loss or increase in appetite, a sharp decrease in body weight.
- Bronchospasm, cough, shortness of breath, other respiratory disorders, pallor of the skin and mucous membranes.
- Itchy eruptions.
- Insomnia, frequent headaches, anxiety, irritability, depression.
- Pain in joints and muscles.
- Inflammation, swollen lymph nodes.
In the absence of adequate treatment, helminths can provoke the development of chronic pancreatitis, hepatitis, cholecystocholangitis, cause irreversible changes in tissues, and even lead to death.
Symptoms of infection with parasitic worms are very diverse. They often masquerade as manifestations of other common diseases. In order not to miss the time and undergo a course of treatment before the condition worsens significantly, it is important to see a doctor in time.
Infection with some types of helminths gives a characteristic clinical picture. The doctor at the first visit of the patient may suggest a diagnosis. Eggs and other traces of the vital activity of roundworms, pinworms and other roundworms that parasitize in the intestines are detected in the study of feces. Sometimes worms are visible on ultrasound. But some parasites that are small in size are very difficult to identify. Diagnosis is based on a combination of symptoms and the results of instrumental and laboratory studies.
If you suspect helminthiasis in adults and children, you must pass:
- Fecal analysis. Allows you to detect the presence of common parasites in the body with high accuracy. However, some of them lay eggs only at certain stages of their life cycle, so it is recommended to conduct a study several times with an interval of 3-4 days.
- General clinical analysis of blood. Does not indicate the presence of larvae, eggs, adults, but gives a lot of information about the intensity of the inflammatory process, the number of leukocytes, etc.
- Biochemical analysis. Provides detailed information about protein metabolism, detects abnormal protein loss or increased protein synthesis, and helps rule out or suggest infection with certain helminths.
- Analysis for liver function indicators (bilirubin, pancreatic alpha-amylase, alkaline phosphatase, AsAT, AlAT). Diagnosis of the liver, pancreas suggests infection with helminths.
- Urinalysis, blood test with glomerular filtration. They give the doctor information about the condition of the kidneys, the possibility of their damage by parasites.
Studies of bile, sputum, duodenal contents may also be prescribed.
To clarify the localization of parasites, assess the degree of damage, ultrasound diagnostics can be prescribed. If you suspect the presence of helminths in the brain, eyes, computed tomography is performed. For the diagnosis of helminths in the lungs, x-rays are taken, in the stomach, intestines - endoscopy.
A comprehensive examination makes it possible to quickly and accurately determine the causes of the disease and prescribe adequate treatment. Don't give up on testing. The more accurately the doctor determines the cause of poor health, the faster he can help.
Which doctors to contact?
If you suspect a helminth infection, you need to contact a therapist who will conduct an initial examination, prescribe laboratory and instrumental studies. After the examination, the therapist will prescribe treatment or refer you to a specialist doctor.
With timely diagnosis, helminthiasis is well eliminated by anthelmintic drugs. The doctor determines the dosage depending on the age, weight of the patient, the degree of parasite damage, their type and localization. To get rid of most worms, it is enough to take the drug 1-3 times. Simultaneously with anthelmintic drugs, vitamin-mineral complexes are often prescribed to strengthen the immune system.
With severe intoxication, allergic reactions, infection against the background of severe chronic diseases, hospitalization may be required. Doctors will not only rid the human body of parasites, but also conduct detoxification therapy, vitamin therapy.
Surgical treatment is required when organs and tissues are affected by helminths. A large number of roundworms sometimes leads to impaired intestinal patency, bile ducts. Their accumulation is removed surgically. The decision on the need for surgical treatment is made by the doctor after a comprehensive examination. The complexity and duration of the operation depend on the localization of the parasites, their size and quantity.
Helminthiasis caused by common types of parasites can be treated with medication prescribed by a doctor. But if you do not pay attention to alarming symptoms, deterioration of health, weakness, causeless fatigue, decreased immunity, the disease can lead to serious complications.
If the parasites got into the lungs, and the patient did not go to the doctor with complaints of coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, shortness of breath, pneumonia or even bronchial asthma may develop.
Parasites in the digestive system can cause cirrhosis, liver abscess, hepatitis, intestinal cancer, gastrointestinal bleeding, fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity (ascites), and peritonitis. They also often provoke the development of chronic kidney disease, meningoencephalitis, loss of vision. Some cestodes (tapeworms) grow over 1 meter in length, and small roundworms can form dense balls. This disrupts the normal functioning of the body, leads to severe intoxication, pronounced allergic reactions. Without urgent medical attention, death is possible.
Helminthiasis often occurs when hygiene rules are not followed or food is not properly processed. To prevent helminthic invasion, you need:
- Do not wear someone else's underwear, do not share a towel with strangers.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before eating - it is important to do this not only before breakfast, lunch, dinner, but also a snack.
- Wash hands after using the toilet.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after working on the beds, and do all gardening with thick rubber gloves.
- Use only clean water for drinking and cooking.
- Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water.
- Eat meat, fish, seafood that have undergone heat treatment.
- Do not buy products in spontaneous markets, from individuals who cannot confirm the safety of the goods.
- Monitor the health of pets, regularly deworm, even if the pet lives in an apartment and does not go outside. To select drugs and calculate the dosage, contact your veterinarian.
- Maintain cleanliness in living and working areas. Sometimes people bring helminth eggs on the soles of their shoes. To reduce the risk of infection, you need to regularly perform wet cleaning, disinfect all surfaces.
Even following these rules, the risk of infection cannot be completely eliminated. To prevent the development of the disease, consult a therapist. The doctor will prescribe drugs for the prevention of helminthiasis. Be sure to let us know how often you travel, whether there are pets in the house, a personal plot. Drug prophylaxis of helminthiasis is recommended to be carried out 2 times a year.