National Deworming Day: Step ahead to free yourself from "Intestinal parasitic worms"
What are Intestinal parasitic worms/ Soil transmitted helminths?
These are parasites, which live in human intestines for food and survival.The worms consume nutrients meant for the human body and cause loss of blood, poor nutrition and stunted growth. These are transmitted through soil contaminated with fecal matter hence also called Soil transmitted helminths (STH). Examples are Roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides), Whipworms (Trichuris trichiura) & Hookworms (Nector americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale).
As per WHO worldwide more than 836 million children are at the risk of parasitic worm infestations and in India 241 million children between ages of 1 to 14 years are at risk of parasitic worm infestations.
Why we need to celebrate National deworming day?
National deworming days celebrated every year on 10th February and 10th August to make every child free from worm infestation in all over India as well as to spread awareness regarding prevention of worm infestations, cleanliness & proper excreta disposal. Objective is to deworm all preschool & school children (enrolled & non-enrolled) between the ages of 1 to 19 years through the platform of schools and anganwadi centers in order to improve their overall health, nutritional status, access to education and quality of life.
How do we get infested with worms?
Worm infestations result mainly from poor sanitation and bad hygienic conditions. These are transmitted through the contact with contaminated soil and water.
- Adult worms live in human intestines for food & survival and produce thousands of eggs everyday
- Eggs are passed in the faeces of the infested person through defecation.
- The people who defecate outdoors/ in the fields spread the worm eggs in the soil.
These eggs contaminate the soil and spread the infection in several ways:
- Ingested through vegetables that are not properly washed, peeled or cooked.
- Ingested through contaminated water.
- Ingested by the children who used to play in soil and put their hands in mouths without washing them
- Children who walk barefoot worms enters the body through penetration.
What are harmful effects of worm infestations ?
- Worms can cause anemia and undernourishment among children, which has negative effects on mental, physical & cognitive development of the child.
- Malnourished and anemic children are often underweight and have stunted growth.
- Children with heavy infections are often too sick or too tired to concentrate at school or attend school at all.
Why Deworming is a need?
- They Grow faster and is healthier
- They are more resistant to other infections
- Learn better and is more active in school
- Attend school more regularly
How to prevent worm infestations?
- Wash your hands, particularly before eating and after using toilets
- Use sanitary latrines, never defecate in open fields
- Wear slippers, never go out barefoot
- Drink safe clean & potable water
- Always eating properly cooked food
- Wash vegetables,fruits and salads in safe and clean water
- Keep your nails clean and short
Why to treat all children?
- The effects of worms might not be seen immediately, but they can cause long-term harm to children’s health, education, and overall well-being.
- Children can carry worms for a long time and not know they are sick;
- We will only see that they are doing poorly in school and not growing well.
- Since the drugs are safe whether or not a child is infected, and the cost of diagnosis is high, it is better to treat every child.
What is the treatment given?
- The recommended dosage for children between the ages of 2 and 19 is 1 tablet (400 mg) and
- For children between the ages of 1 and 2 is half tablet (200 mg)
- For young children the tablets should be broken and crushed and then to be administered with water
- Children can take it empty stomach also
- If a child is sick, do not give him or her the deworming tablet
- left out children can be treated on Mop Up day or later on after being well
- If a child shows any negative/adverse reaction let the child rest in the shade and drink water.
- If the symptoms are very severe, it is probably unrelated to the treatment and the child should be taken to the nearest health facility.
Does the treatment have side effects?
- Headache, and
What should be done if a child chokes after having a tablet?
- Do not panic & keep calm.
- Take the child to a shady cool place and allow the child to cough and give him or her drinking water. (If this doesn’t help follow step 3)
- Pat or give a back blow with the hand on the upper back of the child to dislodge the object from the airway or else make the child bend forward and pat on his/her back so that the tablet comes out. (If this doesn’t help follow step 4)
- Call the help line or the nearest health worker
- Helminth control in school age children., A guide for managers of control programs ., 2nd edition ., WHO(2011)
- National Deworming Day- Operational Guidelines , Mohfw, Government of India(Annexure 6, Page No.33)
- www.nhm.gov.in/nrhm-components/ -
- https://dutable.com/2019/03/05/prevalence-of-ascaris-lumbricoides-among-children photo credit
- https://www.britannica.com/animal/whipworm photo credit
- https://iliveok.com/health/ankylostoma_106407i16220.html photo credit