Roundworms are the largest worms that affect humans and they can grow up to 30-35cm long. Adult roundworms can live up to two years and a mature female roundworm can produce up to 250,000 eggs per day.
Roundworms are parasites, meaning they use the human body to live, feed and reproduce. When in large numbers they can cause symptoms, and sometimes complications. Anyone can have roundworm infection but children are more likely to have it due to their poor personal hygiene standards.
All types of worms, including roundworms absorb the host’s digested food, therefore decreasing the quantity available for the host’s normal physical and mental development. The negative effects of worm infestation have greater implications in a child as the worms share the foods the child should otherwise benefit from. This can lead to malnutrition, stunted growth and development, and lack of energy.
If your child has become infected with roundworms, some of the signs you’ll likely notice include:
- Visible worms in the stools
- Stomach pain
- Vomiting roundworms
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Irregular stools
If you notice these signs in your child, you should take your child to see a doctor. Most times, roundworm infection is usually mild and many people recover with minimal treatment. It is nevertheless important that your child still see a doctor to prevent complications.
Roundworm infection can be prevented and to do so, here are some of the things you should do:
- Always wash your hands regularly, with soap and water and teach your children to do the same. This you should do especially before cooking, eating and after visiting the toilet
- Eat only well prepared and properly washed fruits and vegetables
- Cover your foods properly. Do not expose your foods to flies and insects as they may transport worm eggs to your foods
- Drink clean water only
- Keep your finger nails short and clean
- Always sun-dry your clothes properly