Helminths in children: symptoms of helminthiases and methods of fighting these diseases

Glistular diseases or so-called helminthiases are parasitic diseases in humans, caused by infection with lower worms( helminths).These diseases differ in the duration of the course and a fairly long list of manifestations. According to the World Health Organization, parasitic diseases, in one form or another, are carried by almost everyone. But the category that is most vulnerable to infection with worms is children under 14 years old. Their share, among the total number of infected, is 80-85%.The problem of prevention and diagnosis of helminthic diseases in children is of great importance, both from a medical and a social point of view.


  • 1 Causes of helminthiosis in children
  • 2 Symptoms of helminth infection
  • 3 Methods to combat these diseases
    • 3.1 Diagnosis
    • 3.2 Therapy
    • 3.3 Prevention

Causes of helminthiasis in children

There is a risk of infection when interacting with animals.

There is a risk of infection when interacting with animals.

There are three groups of worms parasitizing in the human body:

  • Nematodes, that is round worms - the most common cases of childhood infections - trichinella( trichinosis), ascarids( ascaridosis), vagal( trichocephalus) and pinworms( anterobiosis)
  • flat or tapeworm-among them, the broad tapeworm( diphyllobothriasis), echinococcus, bovine tapeworm( shadowiarinhoz), dwarf( hymenolepidosis), and pork chopsticks( shadyoz)
  • trematodes, in other words, the worms-flukes whose various species cause the following. E disease: opisthorchiasis, fascioliasis, paragonimiasis, etc.

Along with blood, these parasites enter the body in any department, so they are divided into intestinal, ie those which are parasitic in the gut and extraintestinal - parasites in other human organs. The latter, most often, affect such organs and tissues of the body:

  • liver
  • lungs
  • gallbladder
  • muscles
  • heart
  • brain

On the territory of Russia and Ukraine the most common diseases caused by roundworms, pinworms and withers - roundworms or nematodes. The remaining species of worms - tapeworms and flukes, occupy only a twentieth of the total number of reported cases of infection( infection).The reason for this is that the infection occurs most often after visiting various exotic countries located in tropical and subtropical belts. Also there is a risk of infection when interacting with animals, eating half-baked meat and failing to comply with basic norms and rules of sanitation and personal hygiene.

It can also be noted that if there is a river fish that has not undergone thermal treatment during cooking, then there is a high risk of infection with a wide ribbon - the incidence of this type of worm infestation is most frequent when it comes to cases of infection with tapeworms. Infection with pinworms and ascarids is possible only if personal hygiene is not respected. The main danger is careless washing of hands after toilet, walking and before eating, especially after contact with animals or people, since the latter may well be infected. Cases of infection with pinworms are especially dangerous because there is a risk of self-infection. The essence of it is that after combing the itching anus, thousands of eggs of the parasite remain on their hands and underwear, and after that spread the child to everything that it touches, thereby infecting both the surrounding and the sick.

Poorly washed hands can cause contamination.

Poorly washed hands can cause contamination.

Young children study the world around them, and practically everything that comes to them on the way or falls into their hands, they taste. For this reason, many children's institutions, playgrounds in yards, children's playrooms are places where there is a very high risk of infection with pinworms. Moreover, kids, because of their still weak protective barriers of the gastrointestinal tract, are most susceptible to helminthiasis. Protect against this can comply with the rules of personal hygiene, but to teach the child to their independent compliance is obtained only by 4-6 years. The intensity of development of helminthic diseases in children is exacerbated by the imperfection of methods for diagnosing helminth infections.

Read: Spasms in the intestines: causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention

Symptoms of such infections are not always unambiguous: in many cases they are not pronounced and also fleeting, so often parents, noticing some deterioration in their baby's condition, are not able todetermine the real cause of the ailment. The reason is that, for example, the female pinworm does not leave the intestines daily for laying eggs, so scraping on enterobiasis is most often false-negative and it is quite difficult to detect this type of helminthiasis. A one-time scraping only at a very high degree of infection reveals the presence of worms in the child's body. Therefore, when there is a suspicion of helminthiasis, it is necessary to do numerous scrapings, rather than one-time. The risk of nematode infestation in children increases with:

  • non-observance of personal hygiene rules( it is important to wash hands after walking, toilets, contact with animals or people, especially before meals, you often need to trim your nails, develop a habit of diligently washing fruits and vegetables before ingestion)
  • a rare change of underwear( it is recommended to change it twice a day, especially important in the morning)
    "bad" habitsflushes the chance of infection because their fur can be helminth eggs)
  • unsanitary housing

Symptoms Symptoms of infection with worms

parasitic diseases manifest themselves in different ways. They directly depend on which part of the body the parasite lives in, how great the intensity of infection and what type of parasite the child is infected with. Symptoms of invasion arise with different rapidity. For example, after infection with ascarids, the patient can experience negative changes in the state of health within a few days. In most cases, signs of infection with worms appear after 14-20 days, and in the case of filariasis - in half a year and a half after infection: this species of helminth has a very long incubation period. Especially dangerous are intestinal helminths: when infected with only one individual, the disease often passes asymptomatically. Symptoms of the disease can manifest only when the parasite reaches huge dimensions, or with massive infection. Common signs of helminthiosis include:

  1. increased fatigue
  2. dizziness
  3. dysfunction of the central nervous system
  4. headaches
  5. irritability
Irritability is a symptom of helminth infection.

Irritability is a symptom of helminth infection.

Because many of the symptoms of helminthiases depend on the type of worms that provoke them, it is possible to consider what signs of the disease occur when a particular type of helminths is present. Pinworms( enterobiosis) - a characteristic symptom when infecting this type of nematode can be noted an itch in the anus, which is especially pronounced at night. The periodicity of this sensation is explained by a mild infection with pinworms - it can manifest itself within one two days, and then a couple of weeks the patient does not feel it at all. This is a characteristic sign of infestation with pinworms, with a strong infection of the itch manifests much more often.

Read: The language is coated with a white coating. Possible causes of

Ascarids( ascariasis) - signs of infection with ascarids depend on the phase of development of the helminth. So, when this initial phase, during which the worm larvae spread with the blood flow into the lungs and other organs, the disease is characterized by an increase in temperature to 38 degrees, general weakness and dry cough, and on the X-ray of the lungs, the appearance of volatile infiltrates within a couple of weeks. The blood test shows a high content of eosinophils, various allergy symptoms appear. In cases of especially massive infection, bronchitis accompanied by manifestations of suffocation, and pneumonia can develop.

The second phase - intestinal, marked by various abnormalities of the digestive tract. Helminths produce toxins that block the work of pepsin and trypsin, enzymes, without which protein digestion does not occur, there is a general deterioration in the digestive function of the stomach. Therefore, when the ascaris infects the child, it loses much weight. Complications of ascariasis can be appendicitis, pancreatic inflammation, jaundice and intestinal obstruction. Trichinosis is often a fever, muscle pains, swelling of the face. Fascioliasis, opisthorchiasis, clonorhoz - pancreatitis, an increase in the size of organs such as the liver and spleen, various disorders of the brain and GI functions.

Strongyloidosis is a distinctive feature - the ambiguity of signs of the course of the disease: these are allergic reactions, and a violation of the digestive function of the stomach, and abnormalities in the biliary tract. Genitourinary schistosomiasis - a variety of diseases of the genitourinary system, in particularly severe cases is characterized by the release of blood during urination. Common signs of the presence of worms in the body:

  • causeless increase in body temperature
  • insomnia
  • yellowing of the skin and mucosa
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • edema of the legs
  • skin rash
  • itching in the anus area
  • digestive disorders
  • snoring or gnashing of teeth at night
  • muscle pains, or joints
  • increased salivation
  • weight loss
  • allergic reactions

Symptoms of helminth infection occur, as are typical for different helminthiases, and differdepending on the type of worms, their location and the extent of their invasion. In any case, when observing any symptoms and suspected of being infected with helminths, you should contact the parasitologist and take various tests to determine the cause of the disease and then fight it.

Methods to combat these diseases


Radiography is a method of diagnosing helminth infection.

Radiography is a method of diagnosing helminth infection.

In order to be able to effectively combat helminthiasis, the first thing to do is to establish the cause of the disease, to determine exactly what kind of helminths are involved and whether they are involved. Therefore, to begin with, you need to carry out the correct diagnosis. A wide variety of manifestations of infection with worms leads to the fact that almost any pediatrician can deal with helminthic diseases in children: a pediatrician, a surgeon, an immunologist, a dermatologist, a gastroenterologist and others. For this reason, children with various allergic diseases, gastrointestinal and pulmonary disorders, chronic dermatoses should in any case be examined for helminth infection.

In the severe phase of helminthiases, the changes in the blood are especially marked in children, so various blood tests can help to detect helminthiasis. Feces, bile and sputum are also biological materials for determining the presence of worms in children. The most common method for diagnosing helminthic diseases in children is the analysis of feces for eggs of helminths. Scraping for enterobiasis is performed to detect pinworm eggs. Instrumental techniques - radiography, ultrasound, etc., are important in the diagnosis of echinococcosis. With their help, you can identify cysts in various organs and their tissues. In trichinellosis, a skin and muscle biopsy is performed - using this technique, Trichinella larvae are discovered - one of the species of roundworms. Opisthorchiasis is accompanied by a study of the contents of the duodenum using the method of duodenal sounding. Various allergic tests are also used to diagnose helminthiases.

Read: Symptoms and treatment: intestinal adhesions


Directed helminthiasis treatment in children is performed with the use of special anthelminthic drugs. The main principle of therapy is the proper selection of a drug that must have a larvicidal, ovicide and vermicidal action. Each of these actions destroys helminths at different stages of their development: larvae, eggs, adults, respectively. After passing the treatment course, a control examination is mandatory. It is necessary to make sure of the success of therapy.

The purpose of the anthelmintic drug occurs after the preliminary determination of the form of helminthiosis, the phase of the development of the disease, various co-morbidities. Thus, the same drugs can be effective in the case of a number of helminthic diseases in children: in ascariasis, enterobiosis, trichinellosis, trichocephalosis, the use of albendazole and mebendazole is effective;Pirantel is effective in case of ascaridosis and enterobiosis;prazikvantel is a remedy for opisthorchiasis, diodes, diphyllobothriasis, etc. Effective treatment of helminthiases means simultaneous therapy of the whole family and strict adherence to the sanitary regime to prevent re-infection. After 10-15 days, a second medication course is performed.


Vegetables and fruits should be washed thoroughly.

Vegetables and fruits should be thoroughly washed.

Prevention of infection with helminths of any kind implies the development of a child's careful compliance with hygiene rules, eating food that has passed sufficient heat treatment, frequent washing of hands, vegetables and fruits. In order to prevent the spread of worms within the family or collective, it is necessary to isolate the infected child, use personal utensils and personal hygiene products, and if pets also live in the house, preventive measures should also be applied to them.

It is both useful for adults and children to take preventive medication course twice a year.

In this case, a drug is used that affects the largest number of species of helminths. The treatment of the child consists in the correct diagnosis and determination of the exact causes of helminthiases. Therapeutics use medicines that affect parasites in different stages of development, thereby destroying both eggs and larvae and adult helminths. Prevention of helminthic diseases consists in observing the rules of personal hygiene and preventive use of medicinal products twice a year.

Helminths are different types of parasites that, when ingested, parasitize in it and live at the expense of the host. The products of their vital activity are toxic and disrupt the normal functioning of various human organs and systems. And although the body of adults is less prone to this scourge - the immune system effectively fights with the constantly penetrating eggs of worms - the baby's body is still weak and more susceptible to the emergence of helminthiases. Therefore, it is necessary to observe certain measures for the prevention of helminth diseases, and in case of symptoms of the disease - contact a specialist.

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