Worms, as vivid representatives of parasitism on Earth, are a major problem not only for individuals infected individually, but also for entire countries, where they sometimes become a real disaster. Usually, when people talk about worms, they imagine mostly small white worms living in the human intestine. But in fact, the types of worms in humans are extremely diverse, both in size and in terms of duration of existence. Some types of helminths (that's what worms are called in the medical literature) can only be viewed on a powerful optical device, and there are species that reach 18 to 20 meters in length and parasitize inside a person for up to twenty years.
Infection of people (especially children) with worms is a common occurrence. Helminth eggs, which the female reproduces in large quantities, are extremely resistant and adapted to the internal conditions of permanence in the human body and to the external environment in which they enter the feces.
The shell of the eggs reliably protects them against external mechanical influences and climatic factors, including heat and cold. There they await a favorable opportunity to enter the body of their "host", where they immediately settle, develop, transform into ready sexually mature individuals and again infect the "host" with a gigantic number of eggs, which start a new stageof reproduction. Next, we'll take a closer look at what worms are in humans.
What types of worms are found in humans
The classification of helminths can be based on several characteristics - for example, the location of their parasitism in the human body. Based on this, they are divided into intestinal and extraintestinal.
Intestinal worms are parasites that have adapted to live in the gastrointestinal tract. These are round and tapeworms.
Extraintestinal worms are those that have adapted to parasitize other human organs - for example, in the eyes, liver, lungs and even the brain.
It is possible to classify varieties of helminths by the way they enter the body of the main host. Based on this, they are subdivided into contagious, biohelminthic and geohelminthic.
Contagious worms are those that an infected person passes to a healthy person during communication. For children, transfer objects may include toys. This group of helminths includes pinworms and dwarf tapeworms.
Biohelminthic worms are those that are transmitted to man through communication with animals, as well as in case of ingestion of badly processed meat. The animals, in this case, are called "intermediate" helminth hosts. This species includes bovine and swine tapeworms.
The geohelmintic types of worms include those whose part of their life is spent in the soil (soil), so their name has the prefix "geo". Infection with this type of worms can occur through unwashed fruits or vegetables. This group includes helminths such as trichina and roundworm.
Varieties of worms can be classified according to their biological characteristics. In this case, they are divided into planas, which in turn consist of trematodes, cestodes and nematodes.
Human worm resources
Let's start with the round parasites - they are nematodes. They have an elongated round body. Its life cycle occurs with the change of owners. This infection is common in children. This includes the following types of worms.
- Ascarids, parasitizing in the intestine, and moving easily through it, poison the entire host organism and live in it for over a year. Its length reaches half a meter.
- Hookworm and nekator (by similarity, they are combined in "hookworm"). 15 mm long, live in the duodenum, feed on blood. They can enter a person through the mouth with food and through the skin (for example, barefoot in an infected soil area).
- Vlasoglav up to 4 cm long, which feeds on blood, sucking the mucous membrane of the cecum or thick. It has been a parasite in humans for five years.
- Pinworms are small parasites, whose length reaches 1 cm. They parasitize in the large and small intestine. Life expectancy is about 1. 5 months. Children are more susceptible to infection.
- Trichinella is installed in the heart, lungs and eyes. Length - no more than 1 cm. Penetrate a person with food - badly processed meat. They live up to two years.
Flatworms are classified into fluke and cestode.
Trematodes are helminths with a leaf-shaped body and two suction cups (one is used to attach to the host's body and the other to feed). The body size can be from a few millimeters to a meter and a half. The development of such types of worms occurs with the use of an intermediate "host" by them. In the main "host", they live in the digestive tract. They do not need their own digestive system, as they completely parasitize at the expense of their "host" food resources. With a strong infection by these helminths, people start to lose weight, even if they eat a lot. The following parasites are called trematodes.
- Liver worm - helminths up to 20 mm, lives in the liver. A person can be infected by eating poorly processed fish. Fluke - helminths up to 1. 5 cm. It lives in the gallbladder. These helminths, their types are found in our country, but there are also tropical types.
- Schistosomes are trematodes that live in the host's blood. They live in warm countries. 30 mm long, its diameter is 1 mm. A characteristic of this parasite is that its female lives its entire life in a special fold of the male. They live like this for several years inseparably and produce a large number of eggs. A person can contract schistosomiasis while swimming.
Cestodes are worms with a segmented body structure. Segments grow successively from the helminth head section and, during their life, they move more and more towards the tail. As they move, a large number of eggs are fertilized and grow in them. Reaching the end of the tail, they fall from the uterine body, with human feces entering the external environment, where the next phase of life begins. In the main host, they live in the intestines, clinging to special suckers up to 20 m.
Let's consider the types of helminths in more detail.
- Pork tapeworm- helminths up to 2 m, live in the small intestine. Pork that is badly processed thermally is the source of this infection. The human body of the pig tapeworm is an intermediate host, which comes from its name.
- Echinococcusis a helminth that also uses humans as an intermediate host. Dogs and cats are the main carriers. Echinococcal colonies cannot be treated in humans, but only surgically removed.
- Bull tapeworm(up to 10 m). It lives in the small intestine, for which it has suction cups. Bad thermally processed beef is the main source (which is why it is called beef).
- The broad tapeworm(up to 20 m) lives in the small intestine. The infection occurs through crayfish and thermally poorly processed fish.
A wide variety of helminth species in humans cause severe dysfunction.
Symptoms of worm infection
The symptoms of the disease depend on the type of helminths that reach the person. They can be very diverse, because these parasites are able to live in almost every part of the human body and organs. Varieties of worms cause the most common symptoms of infection:
- itching in the anal area;
- diarrhea and other faecal disorders;
- pain in the abdomen;
- weight reduction;
- increased appetite;
- muscle pain;
- sleep disorders;
- allergic manifestations;
- increased fatigue.
Treatment and prevention of helminthic invasion (infection)
The types of helminthiasis (groups of infectious diseases) depend on the type of helminths and their location in the human body. In this case, helminthiasis can proceed in a veiled or severe way, sometimes until death. In general, there are as many helminths as there are all types of helminths and, so far, no universal cure has been found for all parasites. Therefore, for effective treatment, you need to know exactly what type of parasite a person has been infected with.
In medicine, many drugs have been developed and tested to treat helminths. Many of them are toxic to the patient, so self-medication is not recommended. If you suspect an infection, consult a specialist.
It should be noted that the primary treatment often destroys only the adults of the worms, but their eggs and larvae remain viable in the body and, after some time after the treatment, the worms may return to symptoms. Therefore, repeated use of these drugs is possible.
Folk remedies for worms
Here are some of the time-tested folk remedies for worms with invariably positive results. In everyday life, everyone must be able to fight this parasite with accessible and inexpensive means. These products include pumpkin and flaxseed seeds (both raw and in the form of decoctions), pumpkin oil, onion decoctions, absinthe decoctions, tannins and ginger, garlic with milk.
But it is better not to be infected with helminths. For this, well-known preventive measures must be applied - washing hands, processing vegetables and fruits, performing thermal processing of pigs, cattle and fish, observing the care when dealing with pets. Constant adherence to these simple rules will dramatically reduce the risk of helminth infection.