As living representatives of parasitism on Earth, worms are a big problem not only for infected individuals, but also for all countries, which sometimes turn into a real disaster. In general, when people talk about worms, they think of small white worms that live mainly in the human gut. However, in reality, the types of worms in humans are extremely different in terms of both size and duration of existence. Some types of helminths (called worms in the medical literature) can only be seen in a powerful optical device, and there are species that are 18 to 20 meters long and parasitize humans for up to twenty years.
Worm infections are common in humans (especially children). The female helminth eggs, which are bred in large numbers, are extremely hardy and adapt to the internal conditions of staying in the human body and the external environment in which they enter the feces.
Eggshells reliably protect them from mechanical external influences and climatic factors, including heat and cold. There they wait for an opportunity to enter the body of the "host", immediately stabilize, develop, become sexually mature individuals, and re-infect the "host" with a giant egg that begins a new stage of reproduction. Then we will take a closer look at what worms are in humans.
What kind of worms are found in humans
The classification of helminths can be based on various characteristics - for example, parasitism in the human body. On this basis, they are divided into intestinal and extraintestinal.
Intestinal worms are parasites that adapt to living in the gastrointestinal tract. These are roundworms and tapeworms.
Intestinal worms are worms that adapt to parasitizing other human organs, such as the eyes, liver, lungs, and even the brain.
Helminth species can be classified by their entry into the body of the main host. On this basis, they are divided into infectious, biohelminthic and geohelminthic.
Infectious worms are worms that an infected person transmits to a healthy person during intercourse. Children may have toys as a transfer object. This group of helminths includes pinworms and dwarf tapeworm.
Biohelminthic worms are worms that are transmitted to humans through contact with animals, as well as by eating poorly processed meat. In this case, the animals are called the owners of "intermediate" helminths. These include beef and pork tapeworms.
Geohelminthic worm species include those that spend part of their lives in the ground (soil), as a result of which their names have 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.
Types of worms can be classified according to their biological characteristics. In this case, they are divided into straight ones, which in turn consist of trematodes, cestodes and nematodes.
Features of human worms
Let's start with round parasites - these are nematodes. They have an elongated round body. Their life cycle occurs with a change of owners. This infection is common in children. These include the following types of worms.
- Ascaris parasitizes in the gut and moves easily through it, poisoning the entire host organism and living inside for more than a year. Their length reaches half a meter.
- Hookworm and nekator (very similarly combined to "hookworm"). It is 15 mm long, lives in the duodenum and feeds on blood. Food can enter a person both orally and through the skin (for example, barefoot on an infected area).
- Vlasoglav up to 4 cm long, feeds on blood by sucking the mucous membrane of the colon or intestine. It has been a parasite in humans for five years.
- Pinworms are small parasites up to 1 cm long, parasitizing in the large and small intestines. Life expectancy is about 1. 5 months. Children are most susceptible to infection.
- Trichinella is found in the heart, lungs and eyes. Length - not more than 1 cm Penetrate a person with food - weakly thermally processed meat. They live up to two years.
Flatworms are classified as winged and cestodes.
Trematodes are two suckling helminths with a leaf-shaped body (one used to cling to the host's body, the other to feed). Body size can range from a few millimeters to one and a half meters. The development of such worms occurs with the use of an intermediate "host" by them. The main "host" live in the digestive system. They do not need their own digestive systems, because "homeowners" are completely parasitized by food sources. With a strong infection with this helminth, people eat a lot and start to lose weight. The following parasites are called trematodes.
- Liver mixture - up to 20 mm helminth, lives in the liver. A person can be infected by eating poorly processed fish.
- Fluke - helminth up to 1. 5 cm, lives in the gallbladder. These helminths and their species are in our country, but there are also tropical species.
- Schistosomes are trematodes that live in the host's blood. They live in hot countries. It is 30 mm long and 1 mm in diameter. One of the features of this parasite is that the woman lives in a special layer of the man for the rest of her life. They live inseparably for several years and produce a large number of eggs. A person can become infected with schistosomiasis while swimming.
Cestodes are worms with a segmental body structure. The segments grow successively from the head of the helminth and move towards the tail throughout its life. When they move, a large number of eggs are fertilized and grow inside. When they reach the tip of the tail, they move away from the uterus, enter the external environment with human feces, and begin the next stage of life. They live in the intestines in the main house, cling to special pacifiers up to 20 m.
Let's take a closer look at helminth species.
- Pig tapeworm- a helminth up to 2 m, lives in the small intestine. Thermally poorly processed pork is a source of this infection. For the pork worm, the human body is an intermediate host, as the name implies.
- Echinococcusis a helminth that uses humans as an intermediate host. Dogs and cats are the main carriers. Echinococcal colonies cannot be treated in humans, but are removed surgically.
- Bull tapeworm(up to 10 m). Lives in the small intestine with suction cups. Thermally poorly processed beef is the main source (hence the name cattle).
- Wide-band worm(up to 20 m) lives in the small intestine. The infection consists of heat-treated crustaceans and fish.
Many types of helminths in humans cause severe dysfunction.
Symptoms of worm infection
The symptoms of the disease depend on the type of helminth that infects a person. They can be very different, because these parasites can live in almost any part of the body and human organs. Types of worms cause the most common symptoms of infection:
- itching in the anal area;
- diarrhea and other fecal diseases;
- abdominal pain;
- weight reduction;
- increased appetite;
- muscle pain;
- sleep disorders;
- allergic manifestations;
- increasing fatigue.
Treatment and prevention of helminthic invasion (infection)
Types of helminthiasis (infectious disease groups) depend on the type of helminth and its localization in the human body. In this condition, helminthiasis can go unnoticed or severe, sometimes even fatal. In general, there are as many helminthiases as there are all kinds of helminths, and so far no universal cure has been found for all parasites. Therefore, for effective treatment, it is necessary to know exactly what kind of parasite a person is infected with.
Many drugs for the treatment of helminths have been developed and tested in medicine. Many of them are toxic to the patient, so self-medication is not recommended. If you suspect an infection, you should consult a specialist.
It should be noted that often the initial treatment destroys only the adult worms, but their eggs and larvae remain alive in the body, and after some time of treatment, the worms may reappear with symptoms. Therefore, re-use of these drugs is possible.
Folk remedies for worms
This is a time-tested folk remedy for worms, with unchanging positive results. In everyday life, everyone should be able to fight this parasite with affordable and cheap means. These products include pumpkin and flax seeds (both raw and in the form of decoction), pumpkin oil, onion decoction, wormwood, pink and ginger, milk garlic.
But it is better not to be infected with helminths. To do this, well-known preventive measures should be applied - hand washing, processing of vegetables and fruits, thermal processing of pork, beef and fish, care when working with pets. Adherence to these simple rules will drastically reduce the risk of helminth infections.