DESCRIPTIONRoundworms are intestinal parasites shaped like earthworms that can be seen easily without a microscope. Roundworms thrive in the gastrointestinal tract. They are contagious. The gastrointestinal tract and lungs (sometimes) are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Home care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSIrritability.
Restlessness at night.
Erratic or poor appetite.
Weight loss or lack of weight gain.
Colicky abdominal discomfort.
Cough and wheezing (rare).
A parasite called ascaris whose eggs enter the human body through contaminated water or food or soil-contaminated hands.
Crowded or unsanitary living conditions.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Teach your child to wash hands frequently--always before eating.
Urge your child to keep fingers away from the mouth.
Have pets treated for worms. Your child should avoid strange animals.
Worms may sometimes be seen in bowel movements or in the child's bed. Rarely, one may be vomited.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory studies to identify the worm.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSIf untreated:
Anemia or malnutrition. May cause failure to thrive and abnormal physical and mental development in your child.
Intestinal obstruction (rare).
Usualy curable in 1 week with treatment.
Your child should wash hands carefully after using the toilet or before meals. It is important to keep fingers away from the mouth and to keep nails short and clean.
Your child should wash the anus and genitals with warm soap and water at least twice a day, rinsing well, preferably under a shower. Tub baths are not advisable.
If possible, boil all soiled linen, nightclothes, underwear, towels, and washcloths that have been used by anyone with roundworms. Fabrics that cannot be boiled can be soaked in an ammonia solution (1 cup of household ammonia to 5 gallons of cold water).
After treatment, scrub all toilet seats, bathroom floors, and fixtures. Vacuum rugs, table tops, curtains, sofas, and chairs carefully. Sterilize metal toys or similar objects in a hot oven.
MEDICATIONPyrantel pamoate or piperazine.
Mebendazole. This medication may cause fetal abnormalities. A pregnant woman should not use mebendazole.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe drugs to kill the child's roundworms, such as:
Your child may resume normal activities as soon as symptoms improve.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When signs of infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of roundworms.
Roundworms reappear after treatment.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.