School Health Week
The 4th to the 8th of March 2017 is School Health Week, which presents an excellent reminder for parents about the importance of deworming their children. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 600 million school-age children worldwide are at risk of parasitic worm infections and an estimated 400 million of these children remain untreated.
This is according to André Spies, Marketing Manager at Cipla SA, who says that worms are nasty parasites that feed off the human body and they do not go away unless action is taken to get rid of them. “Most people do not like to think about the idea of having worms in their bodies, however, it is a very common and normal issue for children and adults alike. It is vital that all parents ensure that they deworm their kids, as worms are everywhere and can contaminate public areas such as schools and playgrounds.”
As worms are an issue for both children and adults, it is the responsibility of parents, caretakers and teachers to ensure that not only do the children not have this parasite, but also themselves, says Spies.
He says that it is advised that children and adults should be dewormed at least twice a year from the age of two years. “It is also a good idea to do deworming as a family on a biannual basis. If this habit is fostered it will result in a drastic decrease in the occurrence of worms in both adults and children.”
There are often also no symptoms evident to self-diagnose the presence of worms in the human body, but there are some common indicators that may occur. He says that this includes paleness, swelling around the eyes, foul smelling breath or gas, grinding of teeth, loss of appetite, weakness, vomiting, tiredness, restlessness, diarrhea, itchy skin rashes or a swollen itchy bumps on the site of the parasite entry, which is usually on the foot.
People and families with pets should remember that animals can also get worms so it is advisable to also schedule deworming for your cats and dogs (in particular) every 3-6 months.
Below Spies provides some useful tips on how families can protect themselves from getting infected;
- Keep children’s fingernails short and clean to keep dirt containing worm eggs from getting lodged under their nails.
- Stop your pets from spreading worms to the family by putting them on a parasite control programme from your vet.
- Wash your hands before handling food
- Wash all fruit, salads and vegetables before use
- Rinse all meats before preparing it for cooking
- Make sure your children wash their hands with soap and clean water after using the toilet
- Do not drink water that may be dirty
- Always wear shoes to stop worms entering through the feet
“Often crèche and schoolchildren are particularly susceptible to worm infestation due to their obliviousness to the threats of allowing pets to lick their hands or face, and when dirty hands move into the mouth or eye area. Even shared items like food, toys, stationery and book could potentially carry worm eggs. It is therefore vital that parents ensure that their kids are dewormed to ensure that schools are worm free for all kids,” concludes Spies.