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INTESTINAL WORMS AND DEWORMINGBack to top
Just thinking about the possibility that you or one of your family members may have worms probably sends a chill down your spine. The reality is that 1 in 4 people world-wide are infected with intestinal worms, with some of the highest numbers of infection seen in sub-Saharan Africa. Getting infected with worms may be much easier than you think, which is why regular deworming is very important. 1
GETTING INFECTED WITH WORMSBack to top
A person can get infected with an intestinal worm in various ways, depending on the lifecycle of the specific worm.
- Through the skin, often the feet or buttocks – infection with a hookworm or threadworm. 3,4
- Through ingesting infected water or unwashed food, or ingesting eggs from soil or the environment – the roundworm, whipworm, pinworm. Children often get infected when they play in contaminated sand/soil. 3
- Ingesting contaminated meat – tapeworm larvae burrow into the muscle of animals, such as cows, pigs and fish, which are eaten and can infect a human if the meat is undercooked or raw. 3,4
THE IMPACT THAT WORMS CAN HAVE ON A PERSONBack to top
Recent surveys in South Africa show that 70 – 100 % of school-age and pre-school children across different provinces are infected with helminths. 6
Compared with any other age group, school-aged children and preschool children are the most vulnerable group and they harbor the greatest numbers of intestinal worms. The impact if infected with worms is far-reaching: 7,8
- They experience growth stunting and diminished physical fitness.
- They may experience impaired memory and cognition.
- A combination of these effects may impair childhood educational performance and reduce school attendance.
Although the effects on growth are most pronounced in children with the heaviest infections, even light infections can contribute to growth deficits if the child is generally not eating a healthy, balanced diet. 7
Studies have also shown that children infected early in life and experience initial organ damage, can have no problems for years and only start experiencing problems later in life, even in adulthood. 8
Intestinal worms impair the nutritional status of most people they infect in multiple ways. 1
- The worms feed on host tissues and blood, which leads to a loss of iron and protein
- Hookworms can also cause chronic intestinal blood loss that can result in anaemia
- The worms increase malabsorption of nutrients, e.g. roundworm may possibly compete for vitamin A in the intestine.
- Some worms also cause loss of appetite and, therefore, a reduction of nutritional intake and physical fitness.
Iron deficiency aneamia due to worm infestation during pregnancy may cause premature birth, low birthweight and impaired lactation 7
SIGNS OF INFECTION AND HOW TO PREVENT ITBack to top
People with light soil-transmitted helminth infections usually have no symptoms. Heavy infections can cause a range of health problems, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, blood and protein loss, rectal prolapse, and physical and cognitive growth retardation. 2
To prevent infection with worms, apply some basic hygiene principles 9,10
- Hand washing: Wash hands with soap and water before and after using the toilet. Wash hands before cooking or handling food, as well as having meals. Ensure that children also wash their hands properly and regularly. Keep fingernails short.
- Safe food practices: Thoroughly cook pork, beef, turkey, chicken and fish. Never eat undercooked or raw meats. Use separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables. Thoroughly wash and peel fruit or vegetables. Only use clean water.
- Additional protection: Keep toilet seats clean. Avoid swimming in sources of unclean water. Avoid walking barefoot in areas where contamination with stool is possible.
REGULAR DEWORMINGBack to top
When asking South African doctors about deworming, they recommend: 11
- Deworming should be done every 6 months / twice a year
- Deworm all members of the family at the same time – both adults and children
As people infected with worms may show no signs or symptoms, you may be unaware that a member of your family could be infected. 2 It is therefore advisable to start your family’s deworming plan with 3-day dosing treatment, as that provides better cure rates for a number of worms. 8
Another reason for using a 3-day dosing option is that under-dosing someone with a worm infestation could lead to the worm developing resistance to the medication. 8
To continue to keep the family worm-free, you could use a single-dose (1-day option) every six months for the whole family.10,11
Vermox® – for freedom from worms
Vermox® is the No.1 doctor recommended deworming solution for all members of the family from 1 year old, in tablet or suspension format.11 Vermox® contains mebendazole polymorph c, an ingredient that stops the worm from absorbing nutrients and ultimately causes the worm to die and disintegrate or dissolve.
Vermox® 3-day treatment options have been proven to kill up to 9 different types of worms, even if more than one type of worm may be present.
Vermox® 500mg crushable tablet is a 1-day (or single-dose) treatment option, containing 500 mg of mebendazole polymorph c, recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a treatment of choice for regular deworming, to keep your family worm-free. 12
Speak to your healthcare professional today about the benefits of regular deworming with Vermox®, mark your calendar today and claim your freedom from worms for your family.
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