Helminths are a common cause of poor health, sleep disorders, and digestive problems. Infection with a parasite in the body of a child or adult causes a set of different, at first glance, unrelated symptoms, and to prevent this, you need to know how worms are transmitted from person to person. As a rule, parasitic diseases caused by worms can be defeated, but such treatment involves the use of toxic drugs, so it is better to avoid infection with larvae.
What are worms
There are many types of helminths, which are divided into two categories – nematodes (round) and flatworms. Worms are parasitic organisms that live in the body of an animal or person, while affecting various organs and tissues, causing specific symptoms and general health problems. Worms vary in size: from a couple of millimeters to tens of meters. Helminths are contagious and their presence in the body is indicated by symptoms identical to those of other diseases (intestines, liver, pancreas, etc.).
Where do the parasites come from? The occurrence of helminths in the body is often associated with insufficient hand hygiene, but this is not the only way to transmit them. Different types of parasites pass from one person to another in every possible way. Pathologies that are caused by worms spreading between people are called contact helminthiases.
To date, there are several dozen causative agents of parasitic diseases, however, despite this, the process of infection with them is approximately the same. Eggs and larvae of parasites can enter the body along with food, water, sexually, etc. Another common method of infection is the ingestion of mature individuals or fragments of the worm’s body. After entering the body, helminths begin to develop and some of them multiply. Certain types of parasites remain at the larval stage and are covered with a protective capsule.
Any type of helminthiasis is characterized by active progression, while the lack of adequate treatment will lead to a deterioration in the patient’s health. In addition, without suitable therapy, a person becomes a source of the spread of helminthiasis. The most commonly diagnosed helminthic infestations are ascariasis and enterobiasis. Roundworms and pinworms have effective protection – a sticky shell, thanks to which they are firmly fixed in the organs.
Are worms transmitted from person to person?
With the strictest observance of all hygiene rules, it is impossible to protect yourself 100% from infection with helminths. However, this reduces the risk of parasites entering the body by about 60%. Are parasites transmitted from person to person? Despite the general opinion, animals do not carry the maximum threat of helminth infection. The path of infection with parasites in contact between people is the most common, in addition, some types of worms are only transmitted.
The risk group includes preschool children and children who go to primary school. This is due to the still weak immune system, the daily presence of the child in public places, the characteristics of the child’s body, and the widespread habit of biting nails. Parents should know how helminthiasis is transmitted – this will prevent the infection of the baby.
How are worms transmitted
There are several main ways of spreading parasites. How does helminth infection occur? Worms are transmitted in the following ways:
- By airborne droplets. In this case, a person, as a rule, swallows eggs, slices or larvae of worms, eating dirty vegetables / fruits (it is extremely important to thoroughly wash the products before consumption), eating, bathing in contaminated water, eating meat or fish, which was the carrier of the parasite.
- At household contacts. Worms lay eggs still unripe, which, leaving the host, remain harmless to those around them for a couple of weeks. However, the larvae can remain under the nails for a long time and be transmitted by shaking hands, other personal contact, using common hygiene items and linen.
- Through saliva. Pinworms and other types of parasites are able to move from one host to another in this way, but this is extremely unlikely.
- Transmissible method of transmitting worms. There is the possibility of contracting parasites during attacks of carriers of helminth larvae such as insects (fleas, mosquitoes, mosquitoes). As a rule, such a danger exists in countries with a tropical climate.
- The transplacental pathway. If the mother is the carrier, then they can pass through the placenta to the baby.
With this method of infection with helminthiasis, the larvae / eggs of the pathogen penetrate the human body through the mucous membranes or skin. The percutaneous path involves the attack of larvae awaiting in the soil on a person. At the same time, they penetrate through the skin inside and migrate to the intestine. Another example is human infection with schistosomes when swimming in a pond. As a rule, such dangerous parasites live in places with hot weather conditions.
Are worms transmitted through a kiss
There is practically no chance that helminthiasis infection will occur through saliva (during a kiss). Worms do not live in the mouth, their eggs also do not linger in the initial part of the digestive tract. Saliva cannot contain parasite larvae, in addition, it acts as the first barrier from the penetration of helminths into the body, therefore, through a kiss they can enter the human body only if specific requirements are met:
- one of the partners just took a bite, but did not swallow a product infected with helminths;
- the woman kissed the palm of a child who had just fumbled in the sandbox and immediately kissed her husband;
- just before the kiss, one of the partners touched with his lips an object on which there were worm eggs.
Is it possible to get parasites through the bed
The eggs of pinworms and some other helminths live outside the body of an animal or person for several months, while in everyday life they can be found on any surfaces that the carrier touched. You can become infected with parasites through bed, dishes, doors, furniture, etc. So, if one member of the family is infected, then after a short period of time other households become infected with them. Everyone should take tests and begin timely treatment, so as not to continue the spread of helminthiasis among loved ones and the environment.
Infection with worms of mother and baby
Doctors do not exclude the possibility of infection of the fetus by worms through the placental tissue. In addition, if a woman, being pregnant, was infected with any causative agent of helminthiasis, the risk that the child will fall ill is very high. It is unlikely that parasites will get into the crumbs with mother’s milk. Worms can penetrate the baby’s body during childbirth, when the baby moves out through the birth canal. Helminthic invasion of the mother and child requires complex treatment, while many medications are prohibited for use, therefore, traditional medicine is often used.
Infection with worms during sexual contact
There is a risk of helminthiasis during intimacy with a parasite carrier, especially when it comes to amoebiasis or giardiasis. Statistics show that infection through sexual contact is more common in people with a gay orientation. As a rule, giardia and amoeba live in the intestines and organs of the genitourinary system, therefore such protective measures as contraceptives are not able to protect a healthy person from this disease.
Does worm infection occur through dishes
A common option for infection with parasites is contact-household. Often a person becomes ill with helminthiasis, eating from dishes containing larvae or eggs of worms. The distribution scheme in this case looks like this: a child or an adult, after visiting the toilet, did not wash his hands badly or did not wash at all, then, laying the table, touches cutlery, plates, other objects.
Due to inadequate hygiene, eggs get into food, and then directly into the digestive system. Infection through dishes may be facilitated by flies that were first sitting on excrement, and then on plates. When the first signs of helminthiasis appear, you should not self-medicate, but immediately visit a doctor to take tests and determine the type of parasite. A specialist will help you choose the right therapy and prevent complications.
Parasitic Worm Prevention Measures
There are many varieties of parasites, which can not be protected with vaccines or other preventive measures. It is also impossible to ignore the likelihood of helminthization, since over the years it becomes a mass problem and often leads to the development of severe concomitant pathologies. Despite the fact that new potent drugs against worms constantly appear, parasites adapt to toxic substances and are still transmitted from person to person.
In connection with the spread of the problem, the measures to prevent infection with parasitic worms are appropriate and mandatory:
- strictly observe the rules of hygiene;
- thoroughly process meat and fish before eating;
- to allocate for each family member personal hygiene items (washcloth, toothbrush, towel, etc.);
- support the immune system with vitamins;
- drink exceptionally clean water;
- eradicate bad habits;
- reduce the consumption of sweets (they are very fond of parasites);
- annually undergo an examination of the body for helminthic invasion.