General practitioner (family doctor)
Experience 20 year
Ascariasis is a helminthic invasion with predominant localization in the small intestine. The causative agent is parasitic roundworms of the Ascarididae family.
Intestinal nematodosis (another name for the disease) occurs in people of all ages and genders everywhere, regardless of the climatic features of the area.
The main symptoms of the disease
Manifestations of ascariasis depend on the intensity and extent of damage to the small intestine, as well as the age of the patient and the stage of development of the disease.
The primary phase may pass without clinical manifestations, especially during the period of migration of larvae. The patient may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- an allergic reaction is manifested by numerous rashes on the limbs or torso. They itch intensely, bringing the patient serious discomfort;
- febrile infectious syndrome, which is expressed by a slight increase in body temperature, excessive sweating, loss of strength;
- so-called hepatic factor - ascariasis is manifested by an increase in the size of the spleen and liver and causes pain in the right hypochondrium or in the entire epigastric zone.
Patients often suffer from wet or dry cough and severe shortness of breath, pain in the chest area. This is due to the penetration of helminth larvae into the lungs, bronchi and pleura.
There may be a sharp decrease in appetite, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, bloating, pain in the intestinal area, convulsions, weight loss with advanced ascariasis in children or adults.
The main causes of infection
The main cause of ascariasis is the oral penetration of helminth eggs into the gastrointestinal tract after bodily contact with an infected person, as well as with unwashed vegetables, fruits, berries, and household items. Pets can become a source of infection for some types of roundworms.
Once inside the human body, the larvae hatch from the eggs and penetrate the circulatory system, spreading to the capillaries of the lungs. From there they reach the bronchi, trachea and pharyngeal zone. There they are mixed with saliva, and then swallowed by a person and again enter the small intestine, growing in it to full-fledged adults.
Adults are divided into males and females. Every day, a female lays up to 200 thousand eggs, which are released into the environment with the host's feces.
Categories of people most susceptible to the disease
Most often, ascariasis is diagnosed in children with an insufficient level of hygiene skills. Also, agricultural workers, gardeners, cleaners, and specialists working at sewage plants are especially susceptible to the disease.
Prevention of ascariasis is based on the timely detection of the disease and drug treatment under the supervision of a parasitologist.
Hygiene is crucial in the therapy process: it is necessary not only to keep your hands and children's hands clean, but also to instill proper hygiene habits in children.
Regular thorough washing of hands after walking and going to the toilet, before eating, as well as proper sanitization of food, will largely protect a person from infection with roundworms.
Features of diagnostics
If you find one or more symptoms of helminthic invasion in yourself or your child, you should seek help from an infectious disease specialist (in the case of a child, a pediatrician or pediatric infectious disease specialist).
Diagnosis of ascariasis involves the delivery of a general blood test. The presence of the disease will be indicated by an increase in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, an increase in the number of eosinophils, a slight increase in the number of leukocytes and a decrease in hemoglobin levels.
In addition, an X-ray of the lungs can be prescribed, on which, in the presence of helminths, foci of infiltration are detected.
The presence of roundworm larvae can also be confirmed by microscopic examination of sputum.
It is important to seek help from a clinic with a really competent specialist and high-quality equipment, since helminths do not show up in all tests. Only an experienced doctor is able to determine their presence in the patient's body.
Treatment of ascariasis
Drug therapy based on the intake of anthelmintic drugs is prescribed. They are selected depending on the stage of the disease. In case of severe invasion, a single dose of the drug for ascariasis may not be enough, and the medicine will have to be taken three times with a pause between doses set by the doctor.
A very large accumulation of parasites in the intestine may require surgery, but such cases are extremely rare.
In case of allergic manifestations, the doctor additionally prescribes antihistamines. If the patient has diarrhea or constipation, bloating and pain in the abdomen and other disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, then enzymes and probiotics are also selected for him.
After the main treatment for the next 3 months, the patient is under dispensary observation with periodic blood and stool tests.
Treatment of helminthiasis at home
Treatment of ascariasis can take place on an outpatient basis, but under the strict supervision of an infectious disease specialist or parasitologist.
Uncontrolled intake of drugs can provoke serious poisoning and lead to hospitalization. Taking untested drugs and the wrong dosage can lead to incomplete destruction of parasites and relapses of the disease.
Ascariasis is curable even in advanced cases, but help must be timely and professional. If you feel abdominal discomfort, complain of coughing and shortness of breath, sign up for a consultation at the Medicine clinic by phone +7 495 126-41-31 or request a call back. We have English speaking operators.
Questions and answers
Is it possible to drive away ascaris with herbs?
Many medicines contain herbal ingredients. Herbs also have an antiparasitic effect, but we must not forget about the serious adverse reactions that their thoughtless use can lead to. Self-treatment of ascariasis with herbs is categorically not recommended.
Can I get rid of ascaris myself without going to the doctor?
No, this is strictly prohibited, as it is fraught with intoxication and the occurrence of serious complications in the functioning of the organs of the respiratory system and intestines.
How is ascariasis transmitted?
The disease can be transmitted by shaking hands, as well as other types of bodily contact.
The most common infection is through contact with poorly washed fruits, vegetables, berries and herbs. You should also remember about hand hygiene after returning from the street and using the toilet.
What foods can be the source of the disease?
Any food, as long as it is not processed properly and contains viable worm eggs.
Why does cough develop with ascariasis?
Cough appears due to the penetration of larvae through the capillary vessels into the lungs and bronchi.
What is the prognosis for ascariasis?
The prognosis is generally favorable. After adequate treatment, complications can occur only in people with weak immunity and with serious chronic diseases.