Most children get tape worm infections after consuming contaminated food and water. The tape worm will reside in your child’s intestines and grow into an adult tape worm in a span of 20 years.
Knowing the symptoms can lead to early diagnosis and treatment. Delay can lead to the formation of cysts in other parts of the body as the larvae grow. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of tape worm infection.
Symptoms Of Tapeworm In Children
Nausea and Vomiting
Tapeworm infections in some cases can lead to gastro intestinal disturbances and gastric upsets leading to nausea and vomiting.
The tape worm attaches itself to the intestines of the child and may start to feed on the nutrients. Thus, the child is robbed of essential nutrients as the larvae grow and feed on the food. This leads to significant weight loss and nutritional deprivation, which may be manifested in the form of tiredness and fatigue. Lethargy in day-to-day tasks is also seen.
Abdominal Pain and Discomfort
The abdomen of the child may become acutely inflamed leading to discomfort in the abdominal area. There is also pain as the gastric lining gets irritated. The child begins to feel excessively hungry or completely loses his/her appetite. Stomach pain like gas and bloating become very common. Diarrhoea may occur in some cases. Appetite changes are frequent and quite severe.
Appearance of White Worm Segments
The child begins to release moving segments of the worm, which can be seen in the child’s stool. It can also be seen in the clothing or bedding. As the tape worm grows, pieces of it get detached and are released in the form of moving white ribbons in the stool. The child may also experience a lot of itching in the anus due to the tape worm. The release of tape worms in the stool is probably the most vital sign of tape worm infestation.
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Sometimes the tapeworm invades other parts of the body and grows into cysts. These can cause uncomfortable symptoms depending on the organ that has been invaded or infected. A tapeworm in the brain can prove to be a life threatening condition and can lead to neurological problems like seizures and allergic reactions. Surgical intervention may be required in severe cases of brain cysts where the larvae are formed on the walls of the cerebrum and cerebellum.
The treatment of tape worms is straightforward. It requires the administration of anthelmintics, which are toxic medicines that help to expel parasites form the body. These medications kill and dissolve the bodies of adult tape worms but do not really affect the larvae. The larvae need to be aggressively treated with repeat doses of medicine.
The best strategy in this case is preventive steps like following good hygiene practices and drinking safe and clean water. Certain animal fats like pork are infested with tape worms if the meat has not been cured and cleaned properly. The likelihood of getting an infection after the consumption of the meats is very high.