9 Parasitic Infestations That Require Immediate Treatment
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9 Parasitic Infestations That Require Immediate Treatment

Amoebiasis

Signs and symptoms:
Abdominal cramps accompanied with diarrhoea, with mucus and blood in the stools. If the infection spreads to the liver, an abscess will form, causing the liver to become painfully enlarged, and the patient will experience chills and fever with a loss of appetite.
Means of transmission:
The disease is spread via food and water that has been contaminated by flies carrying the germ from human faeces.
Treatment:

  • Early diagnosis is essential, for the correct treatment to be administered.
  • Strict hygiene measures should be followed, and all vegetables well washed before consumption.

Head Lice

Signs and symptoms:
Scalp will be extremely itchy, with bite marks sometimes being noticed. Tiny white eggs will be attached onto individual hairs, which are very difficult to remove.
Means of transmission:
Highly contagious and easily spread among family members and schools.
Treatment:

  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist for a special spray or shampoo.
  • The whole family and ideally school classmates should be treated.
  • After shampooing, try and remove the remaining nits with a fine-toothed comb.

Hookworm

Signs and symptoms:
Red itchy patches may be noticed at the site where the larvae made their entrance – usually on the feet. Fever and coughing may be experienced once they have travelled into the lung area. Moving up to the windpipe, they are swallowed, and once in the intestine they develop into adult worms, feeding on blood. Abdominal pain, constipation, anaemia and fatigue are common signs of infestation.
Means of transmission:
Coming into contact with infected sand.
Treatment:

  • Iron supplements, a diet high in protein and the appropriate medicine to eliminate the worms will correct the problem.

Maggot Fly

Signs and symptoms:
Inflamed sores, with a yellow head that are similar in appearance to boils. Once opened a maggot will be seen.
Means of transmission:
The flies lay their eggs in damp washing, and once hatched, burrow their way under the skin.
Treatment:

  • Wash nappies in hot water and iron if possible.
  • Applying Vaseline to the affected site, will usually cause the maggot to emerge.
  • The area will heal quickly, but it is advisable to apply an antiseptic ointment to prevent infection.

Malaria

Signs and symptoms:
Severe headaches, muscle pain, vomiting and shivering attacks followed by a fever. Once in the bloodstream they destruct the red blood cells.
Means of transmission:
Malaria parasites are transmitted by bites of infected female mosquitoes, who suck the blood of an infected person, and then pass it on the next time it bites.
Treatment:

  • A doctor should be consulted as soon as malaria is suspected.
  • Blood samples will be taken and the correct medicine prescribed.

Pin/Thread Worm

Signs and symptoms:
Patient will complain of severe itching around the anus, especially at night, as this is when the female emerges to lay her eggs.
Means of transmission:
This can occur in all areas, and children become infested through swallowing or inhaling eggs.
Treatment:

  • Treat the whole family with a medicine to rid worms, even if they do not show any symptoms.
  • Prevent the child from scratching the anus, as eggs will be caught under the nails and re-infection will occur.
  • Remove the eggs laid during the night by a morning wash.

Pork and Beef Tapeworm

Signs and symptoms:
Abdominal pain, weight loss, hunger and nausea are common symptoms. Pieces of the worm may be present in the stool.
Means of transmission:
Consuming undercooked beef and pork.
Treatment:

  • Appropriate medicinal treatment is effective, but may need a follow-up dose.
  • Be sure to thoroughly cook all pork and beef dishes.

Roundworm

Signs and symptoms:
The first stage of the worm’s development occurs in the lungs, causing the patient to cough and feel generally ill. On entering the intestine, abdominal pain will be experienced. The worms may be eliminated through the mouth, nose or stools.
Means of transmission:
Coming into contact with any sand, grass, dogs faeces or surfaces that harbour the eggs.
Treatment:

  • Children are prone to roundworm infestation, as it can easily be picked up through general playing on the grass, so don’t think that even though you follow a strict hygiene routine that your child is immune.
  • Treat the whole family and pets with the correct medication.

Whipworm

Signs and symptoms:
Nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhoea with blood-stained stools are all signs.
Means of transmission:
Eggs are usually swallowed after the child has been playing in infected soil, after which she puts her fingers in her mouth.
Treatment:

  • Strict hygiene measures should be followed, with frequent washing of the hands.
  • Responds well to appropriate treatment.
9 Parasitic Infestations That Require Immediate Treatment
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