Worms are parasites that are found in the gastrointestinal tract. There are many different types of worms including: roundworms (e.g. hookworms, pinworms, threadworms) and tapeworms. The most common parasitic infection in young children is pinworms. Worm infestations are potentially dangerous as they rob the body of essential nutrients and vitamins and can cause the loss of blood from the gastrointestinal tract. Complications of worm infections are: anaemia, nutritional deficiencies, malabsorption syndromes and a weakened immune system. Worms can be transmitted through coming into contact with human faecal waste, walking on contaminated soil, ingesting larvae or eggs in uncooked meats or by inhalation.
Symptoms of a pinworm infestation: anal itching, insomnia and restlessness.
Symptoms of hookworm infestation: itchy feet, bloody sputum, fever, rash and loss of appetite.
Symptoms of threadworm infestation: bronchitis, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, flatulence and a rash.
Symptoms of tapeworm infestation: weight loss, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Who to consult: Dietician, GP, herbalist, homoeopath, naturopath, pharmacist.