Does Your Child Need Deworming? 5 Things Parents Must Know

    Does Your Child Need Deworming? 5 Things Parents Must Know

    Having worms in the intestines or what we commonly refer to as bulate sa tyan is a common health problem in children. In fact, it is enough of a public health concern that the Department of Health holds National Deworming Months (January and July) where schools participate in mass deworming. What causes intestinal parasitism? Would your child need deworming medicine for kids? The answers and more here.

    Common Causes

    More than knowing about the deworming medicine for kids, let’s talk about the common causes. This way, you can take steps to prevent your kids from developing intestinal parasitism.

    Experts say kids often ingest the eggs of worms from the soil, water, or other infested objects, such as linen, toys, bathroom fixtures, and kitchen counters. Once the eggs are in the intestines, they hatch and produce more eggs.

    Note that intestinal worms are contagious. Hence, a child with intestinal parasitism can infect others.

    Signs and Symptoms

    Different kinds of worms behave differently, and thus might result in various signs and symptoms. Your child may need deworming medicine for kids if they exhibit the following:

    • Itchiness in their bottom and/or vagina (the itching is typically worse at night).
    • Restlessness or feeling tired.
    • A bottom that looks red (for kids with fair skin) or purple or grayish (for kids with a darker complexion).

    There are also times when bits of worm can be found in the child’s anus. Intestinal parasitism may also lead to tummy ache and nausea and vomiting.

    Treatment

    The problem with intestinal parasitism in the Philippines is that it’s widespread, to the point where some parents think it is not a concern and even beneficial for their kids.

    But, experts say parasites survive by stealing nutrients from the body. That’s why kids feel tired and may lack focus when in school. Severe cases may even lead to respiratory problems if the worms reach the lungs. Some worms may also clump together and cause blockage in the intestines.

    This is why deworming medicine for kids is important. Here’s what you need to know about these drugs.

    1. Your child probably only needs one medicine for deworming

    According to the World Health Organization, the following medicines can be used to treat intestinal worms: albendazole, mebendazole, levamisole, or pyrantel. Praziquantel, on the other hand, is the drug of choice for a specific type of parasitism (schistosomiasis).

    The deworming medicine for kids in the Philippines’ mass treatment is often albendazole or mebendazole. They both work by stopping the worms from moving, leading to their death.

    Important

    It’s not true that deworming medicines cause worms to come out of the mouth or nose.

    2. It is safe, easy, and effective

    Deworming medicine for kids is safe for children ages 1 and up. Even kids who do not have intestinal parasitism can take them.

    Albendazole and mebendazole come in flavored, chewable tablets. Only one dose is needed, but doctors recommend deworming twice a year.

    3. Side effects are rare and often mild

    Deworming medicine for kids may result in side effects and allergic reactions. However, instances are rare.

    In most cases, adverse effects result from the presence of dead worms in the body. Signs and symptoms include headache, abdominal discomfort, and nausea. Allow your child some time to rest and give them water.

    4. Deworming is free in areas with a high prevalence rate

    The World Health Organization recommends mass deworming in areas where the prevalence rate of intestinal parasitism is higher than 20%.

    The Department of Health works with public schools to deworm kids. Of course, parental consent is necessary.

    5. Reinfection is likely

    The reason why kids receive deworming medicine twice a year is because of the possibility of reinfection.

    To reduce the risk, kids must wash their hands properly and frequently and wear slippers or shoes. It is also important to wash foods thoroughly and to maintain cleanliness in and around the house.

    If you have concerns about deworming, please don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s pediatrician or your primary care physician.

    Learn more about Child Health here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Apr 04
    Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD