Roundworm infestation (ascariasis)

    • Brief

    • You can get infected with roundworms by drinking water or eating foods contaminated with its eggs. The eggs develop in your body, maturing until they become adult roundworms. If left untreated, the worms can block your intestines or cause problems in your lungs.

      This condition can be treated with antiparasitic medications. Most people recover without any long-term effects.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • People with a roundworm infection often have no symptoms. Symptoms become more noticeable when the roundworm infestation grows.

      If your intestines are affected, you may have:

      • Pain or swelling in your belly.
      • You may feel like vomiting or actually vomit.
      • Watery stools or difficulty in passing stools.
      • You may see worms in your stools.
      • Unspecific, noisy stomach.

      If your lungs are affected, you may have:

      • Cough and chest discomfort.
      • Difficulty in breathing.
      • You may feel tired and run a fever.
    • What are the causes?

    • The eggs of roundworms called ascaris cause roundworm infestation.

    • What are the things that put you at risk?

    • Roundworm eggs can be found in soil contaminated by human stools or in uncooked food contaminated by soil that contains roundworm eggs. You are at risk if you:

      • Eat fruits and vegetables that are not properly washed or cooked.
      • Do not wash your hand regularly with water and soap. Children often get infected because they put their hands in their mouths after playing in contaminated soil.
      • Drink water infected with stools of someone with a roundworm infection.
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • You usually do not need to see a doctor for roundworms, except when the worms start to block your intestines or travel to your lungs, causing you to have:

      • Serious pain in your belly.
      • Severe loose watery stools.
      • Difficulty passing stools at all for a long time.
      • If you run a high fever.
    • How to prevent?

    • Roundworm infestation can be prevented by taking precautions, including:

      • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating. Cooking your vegetables well also helps.
      • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially when handling food and after using the toilet.
      • Boil your water very well before drinking.
    • How to manage and treat?

    • Using antiparasitic medications usually expels roundworms. There are no self-care routines for managing it.

      • The first choice of medication is albendazole. This is readily available and inexpensive.
      • Your healthcare provider may recommend ivermectin or mebendazole.
      • Your healthcare provider may recommend doing a scan to confirm intestinal blockage and perform surgery to unblock it.
    • Kulawa cares

    • Roundworm infestation is a common condition. Most times, the symptoms are very mild and deworming with over-the-counter drugs will take care of it. You should practice good personal and food hygiene to avoid being infected.