Worms as vivid representatives of parasitism on Earth are a big problem not only for individual infected people, but also for entire countries, where they sometimes become a real disaster. Usually, when people talk about worms, they mostly imagine small white worms living in the human intestine. But in reality, the types of worms in humans are extremely diverse, both in terms of size and in terms of duration of existence. Some types of helminths (as worms are called in the medical literature) can only be visualized in a powerful optical device, and there are species that reach 18-20 meters in length and parasitize inside a person up to twenty years old. .
Infection of people (especially children) with worms is a frequent occurrence. The eggs of helminths, which the female reproduces in large quantities, are extremely resistant and adapted to the internal conditions of stay in the human body and the external environment into which they enter with feces.
The egg shell reliably protects them from external mechanical influences and climatic factors, including heat and cold. There they await a favorable opportunity to enter the organism of their "host", where they immediately fixate, develop, transform into ready-made sexually mature individuals and reinfect the "host" with a gigantic number of eggs, which begin anew stage of reproduction. Next, we'll take a closer look at what worms are in humans.
What types of worms are found in humans
The classification of helminths can be based on various characteristics, for example, based on the location of their parasitism in the human body. On this basis, they are divided into intestinal and extraintestinal.
Intestinal worms are parasites that have adapted to live in the gastrointestinal tract. These are round and tapeworm.
Extraintestinal worms are those that have adapted to parasitize in other human organs, for example in the eyes, liver, lungs and even the brain.
It is possible to classify helminth varieties by the way they enter the body of the main host. On this basis, they are divided into contagious, biohelminthics and geohelminthics.
Contagious worms are those that an infected person transmits to a healthy person during communication. Children can have toys as transfer items. This group of helminths includes pinworms and dwarf tapeworms.
Biohelminthic worms are those that are transmitted to humans through communication with animals, as well as in the case of eating poorly processed meat. Animals in this case are called "intermediate" hosts of helminths. This species includes bovine and porcine tapeworms.
Types of geohelminth worms include those whose part of their life is spent in the soil (soil), for which their name is prefixed with "geo". Infection with this type of worm can occur through unwashed fruits or vegetables. This group includes helminths such as trichina and nematode.
The varieties of worms can be classified according to their biological characteristics. In this case, they are divided into flat ones, which in turn consist of flukes, cestodes and nematodes.
Characteristics of human worms
Let's start with the round pests - these are nematodes. They have an elongated round body. Their life cycle occurs with a change of owner. This infection is common in children. These include the following types of worms.
- Roundworms, parasitic in the intestine, and easily move through it, poison the entire host organism and live there for more than a year. Their length reaches half a meter.
- Hookworm and nekator (for great similarity, they are combined in "hookworm"). 15 mm long, lives in the duodenum, feeds on blood. They can enter a person both through the mouth with food and through the skin (for example, with bare feet on an infected area of ground).
- Vlasoglav up to 4 cm long It feeds on blood, sucking the mucous membrane of the large or cecum. It has been a parasite in humans for five years.
- Pinworms are small parasites, the length of which reaches 1 cm, parasitize in the small and large intestines. Life expectancy is around 1. 5 months. Children are more susceptible to infections.
- Trichinella is deposited in the heart, lungs, eyes. Length - no more than 1 cm. Penetrating a person with food - poorly heat-treated meat. They live up to two years.
Flat worms are classified into flukes and cestodes.
Flukes are helminths with a leaf-shaped body with two suckers (one is used to attach to the host's body, the other is used for feeding). The dimensions of the body can vary from a few millimeters to one and a half meters. The development of these types of worms occurs with the use of an intermediate "host" on their part. In the main "host" they live in the digestive tract. They do not need their own digestive system, because they parasitize completely at the expense of their "host" food resources. With a strong infection with this helminth, people begin to lose weight, even if they eat a lot. The following parasites are referred to as flukes.
- Liver fluke - helminth up to 20 mm, lives in the liver. A person can become infected by eating poorly processed fish.
- Fluke - helminth up to 1. 5 cm, lives in the gallbladder. These helminths, their types are found in our country, but there are also tropical types.
- Schistosomes are flukes that live in the host's blood. They live in hot countries. 30 mm long, their diameter is 1 mm. A feature of this parasite is that her female lives her entire life in a special fold of the male. They live in this way for several years inseparably and produce a huge number of eggs. A person can contract schistosome while swimming.
Tapeworms are worms with a segmental body structure. The segments grow successively on the side of the helminth's head and during its life they move more and more towards the side of the tail. As they move, a huge number of eggs are fertilized and grow inside them. After reaching the tail, they fall out of the uterine body, with human feces enter the external environment, where they begin the next stage of life. In the main host, they live in the intestine, clinging to special suckers up to 20 m.
Let's consider the types of helminths in more detail.
- Pork tapeworm- helminth up to 2 m, lives in the small intestine. Heat treated pork is the source of this infection. The human body for the pig tapeworm is an intermediate host, which comes from its own name.
- Echinococcusis a helminth that also uses humans as an intermediate host. Dogs and cats are the main carriers. Colonies of echinococci cannot be treated in humans, but only surgically removed.
- Bull tapeworm(up to 10 m). It lives in the small intestine, for which it has suction cups. Thermally poorly processed beef is the main source (which is why it is called bovine).
- The large tapeworm(up to 20m) lives in the small intestine. Infection occurs through poorly heat-treated shrimp and fish.
A wide variety of helminth species in humans cause severe dysfunction.
Symptoms of worm infection
Symptoms of the disease depend on the type of helminths affecting a person. They can be very different, because these parasites are able to live in almost all parts of the human body and organs. Varieties of worms cause the most common symptoms of infection:
- itching in the anal area;
- diarrhea and other stool disorders;
- pain in the abdomen;
- weight reduction;
- increased appetite;
- muscle pain;
- sleep disturbances;
- allergic manifestations;
- increased fatigue.
Treatment and prevention of helminthic invasion (infections)
The types of helminths (groups of infectious diseases) depend on the type of helminths and its localization in the human body. In this case, helminthiases can proceed covertly or severely, sometimes even fatal. In general, there are as many helminthiases as there are types 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 type of parasites a person has been infected with.
In medicine, many drugs have been developed and tested for the treatment of helminths. 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 primary treatment destroys only the adults of the worms, but their eggs and larvae remain viable in the body, and after some time after treatment, the worms can manifest themselves with symptoms again. Therefore, repeated use of these drugs is possible.
Folk remedies for worms
Here are some of the time-tested folk remedies for worms with invariably positive results. In everyday life, every person should be able to fight this parasite by convenient and inexpensive means. These products include pumpkin and flax seeds (both raw and in the form of a decoction), pumpkin oil, onion decoction, decoctions of wormwood, tansy and ginger, garlic with milk.
But it is better not to be infected with helminths at all. For this, well-known preventive measures should be used: washing hands, processing fruits and vegetables, performing heat treatments of pork, beef and fish, paying attention when dealing with pets. Constant adherence to these simple rules will drastically reduce the risk of helminth infection.