By Chioma Obinna
I just got back from work when I met Dolapo at the door. Mummy, Dare and David are running temperature and they could not eat their lunch.
Daddy even tried to feed them but they just couldn’t take their food. Alarmed, I rushed into the bedroom where I met the children in question shivering and looking pale.
Actually, they had not been eating their lunch in the last two weeks. They return home with their lunch box packed they way they went with it to school.
I became scared the more because a few days ago, I noticed a sudden change in their countenance. Once happy and energetic children, they are now irritable and refuse to eat. I quickly rushed them to a paediatrician in a nearby private hospital.
Upon examination, the doctor asked the last time I de-wormed them? I could not recall immediately. But she told me the children had intestinal worms.
I was amazed how the children could contract worms when they always eat good food.
But the doctor explained that the worms are in the children’s intestines. They could have caught it when walking around barefoot on infected soil, playing in contaminated water or eating unclean foods maybe in the school.
Once these eggs hatch, the worms will grow and lay more eggs in their bodies.
It is upsetting to find out your child not one but two have worm infections. However, getting rid of worms is also easy and relatively quick.
Worm infection does not always show symptoms and when it does, the symptoms may be so slight and gradual they are overlooked.
The child may have a sore tummy, weight loss and may be irritable.
Other signs include loss of appetite due to pain or discomfort in the tummy, anaemia – especially with hookworms - a rash – especially hives, nausea, itching or pain around the anus, where the worms entered, trouble sleeping, because of the itchiness, constant coughs, painful and frequent urination due to urinary tract infection, blood in the stool, vomiting diarrhoea, there can be a blockage of the intestines.
Fortunately, almost all worm infections can be treated with oral medication. The doctor will prescribe medicines or de-worming treatments based on the type of worm infection your child has. Don’t buy over the counter remedies.
Ideally a child should get de-wormed six months after birth, since this is when they tend to touch various things and put their hands in their mouth.
If what they touch is contaminated, it can cause the worms or their eggs to enter the baby’s body and this should be repeated every six months.