What are hookworms and how do they affect you? If this question has been bothering you and you are one of the millions who have been affected by this niggling hookworm infection, here is a simple answer to your question-They are parasitic in nature, and can affect your lungs and small intestines. How do you contract the infection though? Humans get infected with hookworms through roundworm eggs and larvae found in dirt contaminated by feces.
Going by the reports provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hookworm infection affects about 576 to 740 million people around the world. It basically affects people from underdeveloped and developing countries who maintain poor sanitation habits.
Parasitic roundworms called hookworms cause this kind of infection. The Necator American hookworm is the chief cause of this kind of infection. The other kind of hookworm which causes the infection is Ancylostoma duodenal. There are two other types of hookworms, but only animals get affected by them.
The eggs of these worms are laid on the ground; they are transferred to the ground with the help of human feces. They then hatch into larvae which stay in the soil, after which they look for a chance to break into the skin of humans.
If you’re a healthy person and eat foods containing iron, you might not show any symptoms. But if the hookworm symptoms begin to show up, they start with a small rash which looks like an allergic reaction when the larvae enter the body. This is generally followed by intermittent bouts of diarrhea as the hookworms proliferate your intestine. There are some other symptoms as well which can cause you much distress such as:
You have a possibility of getting affected by the parasites by accidently getting in touch with the soil infested by ringworm larvae. The larvae enter your skin, travel through your bloodstream, and finally enter your intestines surreptitiously without you having any inkling of it. They also make a beeline for your windpipe and are transported to your small intestine when you gulp down something. When they are fully grown, they stay in your intestine for a year or so then leave your body through excretion.
Usually, people get affected when they live in warm and moist climate zones. Generally, people who practice poor hygiene and sanitation practices get affected by this kind of infection, which are also regarded as the chief causes of hookworm.
Hookworm infections can be transferred to you if your pets are affected; chances are you might also get affected by your pet’s infection. If your pet has been infected, you get affected indirectly. You might not get it by mere contact, but you might get it if you walk on the ground bare feet, especially where your pets have left behind stools, which have been infected by eggs and larvae of the hookworm.
To stop yourself from getting affected, ensure that your pets are vaccinated and dewormed by your veterinarian. Additionally, do not walk barefoot on dirty soil. This is especially pertinent when you might come in contact with animal feces from pets, and are not too conversant with the health condition of pets seen in a public place like parks.
If you have been infected by hookworms since a long time, you could become anemic. A dip in red blood cells is one of the chief characteristics of anemia. Anemia is a result of hookworms feeding on your blood. You’re more likely to get severe anemia if you also don’t have an appetite, have malaria or are pregnant.
Other side-effects that can develop from these infections are severe nutritional deficiencies and a condition known as ascites. Ascites is a condition where there is the development of fluids in the abdomen.
Children who have a tendency to have frequent hookworm infections can experience stunted physical and mental growth as they lose a lot of iron and protein.
While it is difficult to know when you get infected, you can get considerable relief from the symptoms by following certain home remedies which are very effective hookworm treatment, such as:
Nut seeds contain alkaloids, which function as de-worming agents. Pomegranate rind and root contain alkaloids and tannins, which are very effective in treating all kinds of worms, especially roundworms and tapeworms.
Here are some examples of herbal recipes to cope with hookworms in people.
This is a great hookworm medicine to treat all kinds of worms.
Mix 15 grams of dried nut in the mashed beans, 60 grams of dried pumpkin seeds crushed and 15 grams of dried pomegranate skin. All material is boiled with 600 cc of water boil in low heat until the remaining 200 cc, filtered after the cold water is taken.
This is a great natural remedy to treat few stubborn parasites.
Roast the wud ani beans roasted until cooked, then eaten with a chewed ½ hour before eating. [What does this sentence mean?] Small children should consume 3-15 seeds a day, adults should consume 15-30 seeds a day, divided into 3 meals. Do it for 15 consecutive days (one Looking for a). [Where’s the rest of the sentence?] This is a great remedy for (For pinworm, hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm). [Why the brackets?]
This is another potent recipe to combat hookworms.
Mix dribbles 20 grams and 15 grams of fresh black Intersection and 2 cloves fresh garlic, washed and didihaluskan or blended by adding 100 cc of warm water, filtered, taken in the morning half an hour before meals. [Rewrite, very unclear]
We all have heard about the adage, prevention is better than cure. In this case, too we must take ample precautions to not get infested with these parasites. We must also take precautions for the people who are more susceptible to the disease like:
It is necessary that we take extra precautions to avoid getting infected by these parasitic creatures. The following measures can act as shields and protect you from getting infected.
Hookworm infections can be diagnosed at a lab, by inspecting a stool sample for eggs. If there’s an infection, the severity of it will be found out by looking at the number of eggs.
An infection can be treated with anthelmintic (anti-worm) medication, such as albendazole or mebendazole, which your doctor can prescribe. You’ll need to take the allopathic medication for one to three days. The medications are usually spot on and suit everybody, with minimum side effects.
Albendazole or another medication called ivermectin can be used to treat a cutaneous larva migrans which are an infection of the skin.
If you are suffering from anemia because of the diminishing red blood cells, you will have to take iron supplements. Supplementing with folic acids is another way of getting your red blood cells back on track.
You can easily control hookworm infections by taking the right precautions. Being more aware is one way of dealing with the infection. Precautions and the right medications can save you medical bills and a lot of hassles. So keep yourself informed and nip the infection right in the bud!
Devi Gajendran is a Post Graduate in Nutrition (University of Madras, Tamil Nadu) and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She is the chief advisor and full time contributor at the Fit Indian and has the final say on all the segments under the Fit Indian paradigm, such as beauty, fitness, home remedies, diseases, diet tips, weight loss, weight gain and so on. A foodie herself, she believes in the Hippocrates quote,” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A fitness enthusiast, she believes that the combination of diet and exercise can work wonders. When she is not sharing her valuable knowledge about food and fitness, she likes to spend quality time with her family members, do some healthy baking and listen to soft soulful music.
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