Roundworms, which are also known as nematodes are a group of intestinal parasites that cause infections in human beings. These worms can also survive in the bodies of animals. The worms mostly live in the gastrointestinal tract of the host's body from where they suck essential nutrients for their growth and survival. One can come across various types of roundworms, some of them being microscopic and some visible to the naked eye. These parasites mostly live in the soil and enter the body through the mouth or any bruise on the hands and legs. Some roundworms even live in the lungs, but this condition is quite rare.
The signs and symptoms of these parasitic worms may be mild or apparent depending upon the severity of the infestation. The roundworms in humans symptoms may include unexplained weight loss, pain in the abdominal region, constant fatigue, etc. Other signs that is mostly observed in children are being underweight, persistent diarrhea, often frothy in appearance and sometimes with traces of blood, restlessness and inability to sleep. Some individuals may also suffer from breathlessness, nausea and unclear or patchy vision.
Types of Roundworms in Humans
Ascaris lumbricoides is one of the most common type of roundworm in humans which lives in the gastrointestinal tract. This worm grows up to 40 cm, when it is a fully grown adult. This parasite enters the body in the form of eggs which can be found in excreta contaminated foodstuffs like raw fruits and vegetables or soil. These eggs after entering the small intestine, hatch and the larvae attach themselves to the intestinal walls. The larvae mature into adults and reproduce laying more eggs. These parasites affect the entire gastrointestinal tract and cause a disorder called ascariasis. Observing symptoms like distended abdomen, vomiting and constipation can detect the presence of this roundworm in the body.
One of the main roundworms that can be found in children, especially in newborns and young children is the hookworm. These hookworms in humans normally live in the small intestine, where they attach themselves to the inner lining with the help of hooks. They also tend to travel to the lungs through the bloodstream and attack the alveoli. The hookworms in the intestinal wall suck the blood of the host which can result in anemia. This worm which is spread due to poor and improper sanitation can cause severe infections in children and if not diagnosed and treated in time, it can prove life-threatening.
These common intestinal parasites in humans belong to family Enterobius and are also called seatworm. These worms are transmitted usually through contaminated food. Pinworms in children show symptoms like itching in the anal region. This is one of the most common childhood conditions and is more a nuisance than a health problem. Pinworms in humans can be treated with easy home remedies like chewing garlic cloves, papaya seeds and taking salt tablets. There are also certain medication to cure pinworms in adults that tend to get rid of the inflammation and itching.
Whipworms are also one of the types of roundworms that are in the shape of a whip. These parasitic worms enter the body in the form of eggs, where they hatch and mature in the small intestine. They then travel to the large intestine where they suck the nutrients and blood. This can lead to diarrhea and if left untreated it can cause dehydration. The only method for treatment is to take deworming tablets like Albendazole and Mebendazole that are prescribed by a physician.
These were some types of parasitic worms which cause a lot of infections that tend to disrupt the normal activities and affect the overall health of the individual. To avoid any infection, it is necessary to practice proper hygiene and avoid eating undercooked and contaminated foodstuffs.