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Ascariasis (Ascaris lumbricoides)

Parasites in the human body are one of the most frequent infections in the world, where they lodge through thousands of eggs and create an infectious focus . But, in case you didn’t know, the intestine is one of the most sensitive areas for these parasites, and that is where Ascaris lumbricoides appears. You want to know more? Do not stop reading until the end of this interesting article.

What is ascariasis?

Quite clearly, Ascaris lumbricoides is nothing more than an elongated, round worm that is also known as a roundworm . This species is part of the parasites that are transmitted by contact with the ground and are concentrated in the small intestine , triggering a large parasitic infection.

When this happens, the life cycle consists of the worms living in the small intestine of the person who is infected , while the eggs are expelled to the outside through the feces . But, when the eggs fall on a humid earth and with the correct temperature, they get to form an embryo that becomes infectious after a few weeks.

An interesting fact is that ascariasis is a health problem that overflows when the hygienic conditions in water and food are inadequate , that is, they have those infected eggs and then they transform into larvae when they take over the small intestine and travel part of the body, until they become adult worms.

The durability of the parasite is very resistant, and this is due to the fact that they can easily live in extreme environments with a lot of humidity , which allows them to withstand large heat waves. In addition to this aspect, they manage to reproduce with great capacity and that is why when their presence is discovered, the numbers are alarming.

What are parasites like?

In more detail, these parasites are like a kind of elongated cylinders with sharp tips, which can measure from 15 centimeters to 50 centimeters , which will depend on whether it is a female or male parasite. Its appearance is light pink with translucent and pearly sparkles. Also, they have thick lips, one on the ventral and the other two on the lateral backs.

In the case of eggs, they have a rounded shape covered with several protective layers , such as an internal vitelline, a transparent middle and an external mamelon-albuminoid. Already inside, you can find a granular mass that will give life to the larva. In some cases, infertile eggs may be found that do not generate levels of infection , but are of great importance for diagnosis.

To determine its presence in babies, children or adults, it is usual to monitor the stool and observe if eggs are 1 or 2 centimeters long . Therefore, and to be sure that an infection does exist, this stool collection should be done for at least 3 days .

Can it be spread at all ages?

Really yes, ascariasis is not limited to children, adults or the elderly , since the ingestion of infected eggs can be carried out by anyone . However, it generally occurs in infants between the ages of 2 and 10.

In these cases, it is possible to identify him at home with the correct supervision of his stool , a swollen abdomen or constant diarrhea. Itching or redness can also occur in the anal area, which is generally confused with rubbing from the disposable diaper.

These are some of the symptoms that act as an alarm in the presence of parasites in children and adults:

  • Constant abdominal pain
  • Excess gas.
  • Frequent tiredness for no apparent reason.
  • Constipation .
  • Presence of small white dots in the stool.
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason.
  • Appetite alterations with a lot or a little hunger.
  • Very dark colored stools.

Treatment of ascariasis

Once the parasitic disease is diagnosed, either by symptoms or by the presence of species in the stool, some of the most conventional treatments to attack and counteract the damage to the human body, are based on the intake of albendazole or mebendazole , as well such as ivermectin, nitazoxanide, and thiabendazole. However, this will depend on medical observation and their recommendations as the case may be.

For these treatments to achieve true success, it is important to focus on reducing the proliferation of eggs, and for this it is very important to avoid defecating on the ground, not placing human feces to compost plants and to take proper care of the entire environment hygiene of the patient.

Part of this care, which must be carried out for at least 6 weeks , to ensure that the eggs are completely eliminated and there is no risk of infection, consists of:

  • Wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom.
  • Clean sheets, towels and pajamas twice a week
  • Keeping the sanitary latrine clean
  • Wash food well before consumption
  • Do not share bath towels
  • Keep the toothbrush indoors and wash it before use
  • Avoid putting your hands in your mouth
  • Keep nails short
  • Clean rooms, bathroom and kitchen once a week

It is possible that the entire family group of the same household is harmed by parasites through the sheets, defecation in the same latrine, poorly washed food, among other factors, so it is always advisable to apply treatment and prevention throughout the family , even preventively with deworming medication about 2 times a year.

Are there home treatments?

The truth is that yes, there are also home treatments in order to attack intestinal parasites , such as the preparation of carob or jatoba teas , substances that have great vermifuge properties. The preparation is done with a tablespoon in 500 milliliters of water, boiling for 15 minutes and consuming 3 cups a day or more, if possible .

But if you want other home options, we have prepared an interesting list of home treatments that you can use in a very easy way to attack intestinal parasites. However, remember that it is best to visit a specialist and attend to their medical recommendations.

Milk with mint

Ingredients:

  • 4 stems and 10 green leaves of mint.
  • 100 milliliters of skim milk.
  • 1 tablespoon of honey.

Bring the mint leaves to a boil along with the milk. Later, let the mixture cool and add the tablespoon of honey to sweeten it. The consumption of this remedy should be lukewarm and done 1 hour before breakfast and then repeat it after 7 days.

Horseradish tea

  • 1 liter of water.
  • 4 teaspoons of dried horseradish leaves.

To obtain this tea, you must boil the water and add the 4 tablespoons of dried horseradish leaves. Then, let it rest for about 5 minutes, strain the preparation and proceed to drink 2 to 3 cups a day.

Anise tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of anise seeds.
  • 1 cup of water.

To achieve this, you must bring the water to a boil and add the anise seeds. Then, let the preparation boil for a few minutes and remove from the heat . Take a cup and strain the seeds. It is advisable to consume after each meal .

Milk with oil

Ingredients:

  • 1 glass of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of castor oil.

First, you must heat the milk and wait for it to warm up a bit. Then, proceed to add the two tablespoons of castor oil and stir the mixture well . This preparation is ideal to eat on an empty stomach or before each meal.

Olive oil with garlic

  • 500 milliliters of olive oil.
  • 1 branch of rosemary.
  • 3 cloves of peeled garlic.

In a bottle, place the gently crushed garlic cloves and then add the olive oil with the rosemary branch. Close the container and keep it stored in a moisture-free area for about 10 days . After this time, use this oil to cook food or to dress.

Pumpkin syrup and honey

  • 500 grams of honey.
  • 100 grams of pumpkin pulp.
  • 500 grams of powdered garlic.
  • 1 liter of water.

This remedy putting him perform boil water with pulp pumpkin or pumpkin . Let cook until half of the water is used up. Proceed to remove from the heat, add the garlic and let it rest. Then, proceed to sweeten with honey and strain the preparation. It is advisable to take two tablespoons a day on an empty stomach.

Remember that these home treatments can be taken preventively every 6 months or in small doses every 7 days regularly to keep the intestine clean and free of parasites, or if the intestinal parasitic infection has already been confirmed, you can take them in the company of the medical treatment that have been prescribed.

How is ascariasis spread?

You must bear in mind that intestinal infection by parasites is not transmitted directly from person to person ; so living with a person infected with ascariasis (ascaris lumbricoides) does not represent any risk. Now, when the eggs of the larvae or worms that have been expelled through human feces are ingested, the only and main source of contagion is created there .

While it is true that healthy humans do not consume feces naturally, but contamination can be found in food that has not been well washed , especially vegetables and fruits that are collected from the ground, also through the water used for it or for consumption that is infected with the factors that we already discussed.

In addition, you cannot forget that the hands are one of the parts of the body that are most exposed to bacteria , so their hygiene is very important to avoid contagion. Therefore, another way in which parasites are transmitted is after having manipulated a surface where the infected eggs are .

When they have reached the intestine, the eggs become long and proceed to start a journey throughout the human body. However, being located in the intestinal wall is when they represent the greatest danger, since the parasites tend to move towards the lungs , generating delicate complications in the respiratory system .

Being in the small intestine, there they grow, mature and reproduce rapidly and on a large scale . To give you an idea of ​​how impressive it can be, the females manage to lay up to more than 200 thousand eggs a day , which are subsequently expelled through the feces. This entire process lasts approximately 3 months.

There are symptoms that can warn you when it is a mild or serious infection , such as what you will read next:

If it is a mild contagion of ascaris lumbricoides , you should take care of:

  • The presence of worms in the stool.
  • Expulsion of worms through coughing or vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Phlegm with blood.
  • Fever .
  • Stomach ache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Rash on the skin.

But if it is a severe infection , you will have more serious symptoms such as these:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Intestinal obstruction.
  • Obstruction of the bile ducts.

As you have already learned, preschool-age children are the most susceptible and most exposed to becoming infected with Ascaris lumbricoides, so the methods of egg transmission can be endless in various scenarios , such as these:

In the hands, specifically under the nails, the microscopic eggs adhere when they feel an infected area and when the fingers are placed in the mouth, these parasites enter the organism. Surfaces, once the eggs have been expelled, can be infected for 3 weeks, such as:

  • Dirty clothes like pajamas.
  • Bed linen and towels.
  • Food infected by irrigation with fecal water.
  • Glasses, cutlery and kitchen utensils.
  • Toys.
  • School desks and tables.
  • The sand in parks and playgrounds.

Remember that intestinal worms affect all human beings, regardless of age, as they are habitual inhabitants of the body ; as they do not develop or are generated in domestic animals. However, some animals can be the main transmitters of another type of contagion through parasites.

How does ascariasis affect the human body?

Outside of the other conventional symptoms of a parasitic disease, it is also possible for the person to experience stages of distress, irritability, insomnia , emotional instability , fatigue, poor ability to concentrate, and behavior disorders. In addition, epileptic-type seizures can be generated in children, adolescents and adults who suffer from this pathology.

The respiratory system can also be affected in a relevant way, producing significant wear , this happens when the infection of the parasites has been witnessed for a long period of time, which leads to asthmatic complications, such as allergic bronchitis , sneezing attacks, as well as itchy and runny nose and eyes. Not forgetting that the circulatory system of the human body could also be affected, causing cramps, low blood pressure, fatigue, listlessness, dizziness and headaches.

Another consequence of suffering from an infectious parasite is suffering from anemia, and this happens because being in the small intestine or large intestine, they can cause bleeding that is often imperceptible, but that exacerbates the loss of iron and other nutrients that are vital for the body, its proper development and growth.

Ascariasis also causes other infections, such as urinary tract infections, since by expelling eggs in the anal region , germs and bacteria are more easily transferred to the genital area , which occurs with greater emphasis in women and men. girls

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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