We all live quite happily with the bacteria and microorganisms that inhabit our bodies, but sometimes we can become infected with parasites which cause some very embarrassing conditions. Parasites are basically organisms that feed off other living bodies for their own nutrition, so when they get inside a human body they thrive. They can lead to all sorts of diseases, particularly in the stomach and gut and because children less developed immune systems they can be particularly susceptible.
The most common worm parasite which affects children in the UK is known as the threadworm.
When you catch threadworms it is when you are smelly and you don’t wash.
Worms that live up your bum? (laughing)
Threadworms? Is it something to do with sexual intercourse maybe?
Alrighty, let’s have a look, what have you got? What’s she got?
Worms? That’s called a threadworm. Where do they live? Stop being so polite. Where do they live? You all know where they live.
In your bum.
In your bum, exactly. They live in your bum. Who’s had worms? Come on…I’ve had worms. Yeah, I’ve had worms twice actually.
They are white in colour and resemble small bits of cotton thread which can sometimes be seen in the child’s poo. At night they come out of the anus and lay eggs around the rim of the anus and on the urethra and vagina in girls. Whilst laying eggs the worms secrete mucus, which irritates the skin and can cause severe itching in the affected areas. This causes huge problems because when children scratch the affected areas the eggs stick to their fingers and nails. They then touch surfaces and other people’s hands which is how the parasite spreads. Then they also put their fingers in their mouths and re-ingest the eggs back into the intestine which continues the cycle.
Luckily, there is medication which can kill or paralyse the worms. It usually takes a couple of week to clear up but during that time the whole family have to make sure that they frequently wash their hands and don’t share towels or clothes to stop the worms from spreading.
The Roundworm is generally contracted whilst abroad in warm climates. They get into the water supply if sanitation is poor or onto food in places where human excrement is used as fertiliser such as south east Asia, Africa and part of the Americas. Once inside the body the worms travel through the intestine, into the blood supply, and then into the lungs before eventually coming into the mouth then being swallowed again. Now I know this sounds really nasty but in actual fact the symptoms are usually very mild and the worms are so small that they’re invisible to the naked eye, but in severe cases it can cause vomiting and diarrhoea
It’s important that your family always drink bottled water when travelling to countries with a poor sanitation.
Toxocara worms are found in dog and cat faeces. They’re spread through direct contact with the faeces or handling contaminated soil. If the fingers then touch the mouth the eggs can be swallowed and enter the body. Symptoms can be wheezing, swelling of the organs, headaches, abdominal pain and it can also affected your vision and although this is relatively uncommon, make sure your child washes their hands after handling pets, soil and sand. And more importantly make sure they don’t eat soil no matter how much they like the taste.
Another less common type of worm is the Tapeworm. This worm can be found in raw meat, contaminated soil and water.
So look at this. This is a tapeworm. Who did this?
What I’ve got here is a piece of tapeworm in this bottle.
What you’re looking at there is a very small segment of what could have been a very, very long worm. As long as this room, it can be metres and metres long. And they live all coiled up in your intestines and why are they a problem?
What they do is eat stuff that you digest and you become really, really thin.
Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and vomiting and in some circumstances they can enter the bloodstream and cause fevers, jaundice, seizures and lung abscesses. It’s important to note that the worm can cause no symptoms at all or just a gradual weight loss. Thankfully it’s easy to treat and there is medication which will kill them off pretty quickly.
Under discussion in this video are parasites: organisms that feed off other living bodies for their own nutrition. Dr Christian explores the problems parasites can cause, which are mainly in the stomach and gut. The first parasite under inspection is the most common worm parasite in children in the UK: the threadworm. At a fairground, Dr Christian meets kids to discuss threadworms, to learn that one thing they all know about them is that they live up people’s bottoms! But what else can Dr Christian tell us about them? Well, in this video he also explains what they look like, how they spread, what effects they have upon the body, and what medication there is to kill or paralyse the worms. All such information is also provided for roundworms, which are often caught abroad; toxocara worms, which are found in dog and cat faeces, and tapeworms, which can be found in raw meat, contaminated soil and water. Not for the faint-hearted!
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