Types of Parasitic worms
The broad term helminth encompasses several parasitic worms, which find their way into a body via multiple exposure routes. Although the worms discussed below are similar in form, they can cause varying illnesses and are treated with different medicines.
Roundworm usually resides in the small intestine and enters the body through contact with contaminated food or water, unwashed hands, and contact with contaminated objects. Symptoms include fatigue, poor appetite, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Treatment usually eliminates eggs within a week, but if not treated within a timely manner, roundworm may cause anemia.
Pinworm eggs enter the body by breathing affected air through the nose or mouth or by touching the mouth with contaminated fingers. Eggs can also enter through the vagina or anus. Symptoms include anal itching (or vaginal itching depending on point of entry), stomach discomfort, and pale skin. Treatment eliminates the eggs within a few days with no serious complications.
Trichina spiralis lives in the intestine and enters the body through raw or undercooked pork or sausage. Once inside the intestines, the eggs will hatch, grow, and move to other parts of the body via the bloodstream and lymph nodes. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting and can lead to high fever and muscle pain. If not treated, trichina spiralis can cause trichinosis, an illness that can result in heart and muscle problems. Anti-worm drugs like thiabendazole can cure trichinosis, but recovery can take up to several months.
Tapeworm lives in the intestines and enters the body through eating raw or undercooked beef. Although symptoms do not usually show, some people may experience abdominal pain and fatigue. Treatment with a one-time dose of an anti-worm cure (more than likely Niclosamide) usually eliminates all symptoms within a few days.
Flukes live in the intestines, bladder, rectum, liver, spleen, lungs, or veins. They enter the body by penetrating the skin, usually while swimming or bathing in fluke-infested water. Many people have no symptoms, but some may develop a rash, itching, muscle aches, and fever. Flukes pass naturally out of the body, but human can re-contaminate an area by urinating or defecating in a source of water. Multiple infections can lead to damage of the liver, bladder, and intestines.