On the occasion of National Deworming day, it is important to understand the importance of deworming as well as to avert any misconceptions associated with it.
Myth: Is worm infestation only seen in non- vegetarians?
Reality: Helminthiasis or worm infestation is caused by three groups of worms – roundworms, flukes and tapeworms. These worms commonly lay eggs in vegetables, fish and meats which are ingested by humans leading to infestation. Leafy vegetables grown along the railway tracks and areas of open defecation can be a potential source of worms. Both vegetarian and non – vegetarians can be infested with worms.
Myth: Only people from a lower socio – economic class are more liable to be infested with worms?
Reality: All class of individuals are susceptible to worm infestation. Consumption of raw salads and uncooked meat and fish are a potential source of larvae and eggs of worms. Hence thorough washing of uncooked raw salads should be practiced. Eating at public places should be avoided.
Myth: Can spicy food prevent worms?
Reality: Spicy food cannot prevent worm infestation.
Myth: Do worms only infest the gastro-intestinal tract?
Reality: Worms not only inhabit the small intestine of humans leading to anaemia and intestinal obstruction but can even infect the brain, liver, lung and muscle. Hookworms can infest through penetration of skin. Proper hygiene, hand washing and sanitation play an important role in preventing such diseases.
Myth: Can I get worms from my pet dog?
Reality: Worms infest both dogs and humans. Dogs may ingest larvae through contaminated soil or larvae in the soil can penetrate their skin. It can be transmitted to humans through dog faeces. Hence regular deworming of pet dogs is a must to prevent its spread to humans.
Dr. Noella Maria Delia Pereira, Assistant Professor Department of Paediatrics, K. J. Somaiya Medical College and Research Centre.