Pediatricians help get rid of tapeworms in your child’s body. Tapeworm is a parasite that affects the digestive system and can be ingested by eating certain foods. It attaches itself with the help of suction cups inside the small intestine and grows thanks to the food that we eat. If left untreated, tapeworms can reach 30 years of age!

In this article, you will learn about the tapeworm infection, the causes, symptoms and treatment.

Types of tapeworm

There are 3 kinds of tapeworm:

  • Tapeworm saginata, which is caught by eating beef
  • Tapeworm solium, which is caught by eating pork
  • The fish tapeworm, which is found, as its name suggests, in the flesh of certain freshwater fish: however, it is much rarer than those found in meats.

Causes of tapeworm

Tapeworm eggs are ingested by animals (cattle and pigs) and then develop into larvae in their muscles. When we, in turn, consume this meat, the living larvae colonize our intestines. In the case of fish, there is no need for an Intermediate: consuming fish that contains unhatched tapeworm eggs can contaminate us.

Cooking kills tapeworm larvae, but consuming uncooked or undercooked meat increases the risk of catching tapeworms.

Who is affected by tapeworm? What are the risk factors?

Anyone who consumes improperly cooked contaminated meat can suffer from tapeworm. The disease is, however, more common:

  • In areas with poor veterinary hygiene measures
  • When consuming raw meals frequently.

It is important to note that tapeworm is not contagious.

Symptoms of tapeworm

The physical signs of tapeworm are:

  • Mild abdominal cramps
  • Appetite disorders: we are less hungry, or hungrier: it depends on the case
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss, in some cases.
  • Fatigue and generalized weakness: the worm “gobble up” all the nutrients necessary for our good health
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Tapeworm diagnosis from pediatricians

Only by noting the presence of tapeworm rings in the stool (sometimes underwear, sheets) can a diagnosis be made 100% sure. Indeed, there is no other outward sign of contamination, and the symptoms are all vague: they can be linked to a large number of diseases.

Possible risks of complications

In very rare cases, the parasite travels to the brain and manifests itself in eye and brain neurological disorders. The infection is then called cysticercosis, and it can cause terrible headaches and seizures.

It can also happen that the tapeworm is the cause of an attack of appendicitis or bowel obstruction.

Tapeworm treatment from pediatricians

Once diagnosed, tapeworms are very easily eliminated with anti-parasitic deworming treatment. The drug kills the parasite within a few days, and it is then passed through the stool.

Tapeworm prevention

The best way to avoid tapeworms is to cook the meat and fish that you eat very well.

Contact Pediatricians in Gastonia NC

The tapeworm disease affects a lot of children, especially children living in areas with poor veterinary hygiene measures. If left untreated, the tapeworm parasite can travel to the brain and cause brain and eye disorders in children.

You may also need to visit a pediatrician if your child has tapeworm. The pediatrician will decide on the best form of treatment for your child.

Contact  Gastonia Pediatric Associates, your Gastonia area pediatricians, offers top-quality pediatric care.