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The importance of Deworming

I’d like to share some information on the importance of deworming the family.

Helminths (worms) affect humans commonly, with ascaris, hookworm, and trichuris (whipworm) infecting more than a billion people worldwide. While worm infestation may not be deadly, left untreated it can affect growth, development and function. Worm infection/infestation has been associated with:

  • Childhood growth stunting

  • Delayed intellectual development

  • Cognitive impairment

  • Decreased function work capacity in adults

  • Anaemia, affecting children and pregnant women the worst

Occasionally you may have the following symptoms:

  • Nausea

  • Lack of appetite

  • Diarrhea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Weight loss

  • General weakness

However, most worm infections are acutely asymptomatic and rather symptoms develop over time.

So how do you treat it?

Well it’s pretty easy and affordable to treat a worm infestation, so much so that it’s cheaper to treat the infection as opposed to perform tests to look for worms in the body. A single dose of chocolate flavoured deworming syrup costs about R30 and should be taken all at once. It’s important for the entire family/household to deworm, as worms and their eggs are easily transmitted from children to adults and preventing spread from adults back to kids prevents the perpetuation of an infection.

How can I prevent parasitic worm infection in my family?

Worms or their eggs are generally transmitted through soil or via the faecal/oral route. The following are some helpful recommendations:

  • Avoid or limit your consumption of raw or undercooked meat, fish, or poultry.

  • Avoid cross contamination during food prep by keeping meat separate from other foods.

  • Disinfect all cutting boards, utensils, and countertops that touched raw meat.

  • Don’t walk barefoot in places where the soil may contain feaces.

  • Clean up animal poop as soon as possible.

Also, be sure to give your hands a good scrubbing with soap and water at these times:

  • Before eating

  • Before food prep

  • After touching raw meat

  • After using the toilet

  • After changing a diaper or caring for someone who’s sick

  • After touching an animal or animal waste

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