Tuesday, May 20, 2014 2:06 pm
Lagos, May 20, 2014 (NAN) Parents in the country have been advised to deworm their children every six months, in order to protect them from intestinal worms.
A family health physician, Dr Abiola Ajala, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday in Lagos.
“There are different types of intestinal worms. They include ring worms, whip worms and round worms.
“These worms are parasitic in nature, and because children’s immune systems are not fully developed, they are at a greater risk of contracting worms than the adults.
“Parents should get their children dewormed every six months because intestinal worms are a prey on the nutrition of children and are more severe in children than in adults,” she said.
Ajala, however, noted that stomach ache, vomiting, weakness and loss of appetite, were some of the signs of intestinal worms in children.
“Most often, a worm infection does not show symptoms or the symptoms may be so slight that they are overlooked.
“However, if a child has been infected with worms, he or she may have tummy ache, start losing weight and be irritable, caused by lack of sleep.
“Other symptoms include vomiting, weakness, constant coughs, painful and frequent urination due to urinary tract infection and diarrhoea,’’ she stressed.
According to her, children can get infected with worms, from walking barefoot on infected soil, from unclean hands or from eating undercooked food.
“They can get infected by playing and bathing with contaminated water and also eating food cooked with contaminated water,” she said.
Ajala also advised parents on good hygiene practices to reduce children’s risk of being infected.
“Once a child starts to crawl and walk, the chances of being infected increases because at this time, they touch various things and put them in their mouths.
“You should clean your house and its surroundings regularly.
“You should change your baby’s diapers regularly and keep your toilets clean.
“Proper hand washing is also very important before food preparation and before eating.
“Cook meat and fish thoroughly, till there are no raw bits.
“Once a child starts walking, keep him away from moist sand and ensure he plays in a clean and dry area.
“Keep your child’s nails short and clean. Worm eggs can get caught under long fingernails and infect the child,’’ she said.
Also, a general practitioner, Dr Samson Orok, said that the need to deworm a child could vary, subject to the environment.
“So based on this, children can be dewormed from every six months to three years,” he said.
Orok said that worm infection could harm an infected child’s future physical and intellectual development.