The hookworm is a parasitic nematode–also roundworm–that lives in the small intestine of organisms such as humans, cats, and dogs. The two most significant risks of hookworm infection are loss of iron and protein (in the gut) and anemia. Hookworms suck blood from their hosts and damage internal mucous linings.
The disease caused by hookworms, especially when they are in large numbers, is ankylostomiasis or helminthiasis. This disease is also referred to as tunnel disease, miners’ anaemia, brickmaker’s anaemia, and Egyptian chlorosis. It’s contracted when hookworms cause iron deficiency anemia to their hosts by sucking blood through the intestinal walls.
The hookworm is one of the primary reasons for child and maternal morbidity in developing tropical and subtropical countries. For susceptible children, the hookworm may cause cognitive, intellectual, and growth retardation. Among pregnant women who are infected, prematurity and low birth weight of newborns are often the results.
Though hookworm infection is rarely fatal, the anemic state of the host may significantly affect his or her everyday life.
Hookworm Infection Prevention and Treatment
A person with hookworms may not be aware of such organisms living in his or her insides. Statistically, 70% of infected people don’t know they are suffering from infection. Hookworm infection is asymptomatic, which means no signs of the infection are shown.
Humans can be infected with hookworms in two ways: through the human skin or infected dogs. Skin infections are usually made through the foot. The migration of the hookworm begins as soon as it enters the skin. Cutaneous larva migrans is the infection passed from dogs to humans. The infection from the dogs does not allow hookworms to develop into adulthood.
Hookworms that have entered the human body can only survive and reproduce in tropical and subtropical climates, since a certain amount of rainfall and a heat are required for hookworms to hatch and develop eggs. Once in this stage, hookworms can penetrate the skin and start their migration inside the body and towards the intestine.
If any person suspects a hookworm infection, it’s best to get a medical assistance right away. Since hookworms are thirsty for iron, anemia is a serious cause for concern, especially when infection has become serious. The following tips will help you prevent or eliminate hookworms.
- Wear footwear all the time to greatly reduces the risk of hookworm infection. Shoes, slippers, sandals protect people from bacteria on the ground. In tropical, subtropical, and developing countries, footwear is a must, since hookworm infection is common.Hookworms reproduce by laying eggs, which are then removed from the body through defecation. As soon as the eggs reach dirt, the maturation process starts and larva formation begins. The larva wait for unsuspecting hosts to lay down on them or walk on them. Once the larva touches the skin, probably the foot, of the potential host, the migration to the intestine begins. Wearing shoes and other forms of footwear helps humans prevent hookworm infection.
- De-worm your pets, especially dogs, to prevent hookworm infection. The infection that hookworms can spread from canine creatures to humans would be stopped dead in its tracks. While the canine hookworm cannot develop into an adult human hookworm, it can still cause rashes and skin problems.It is important to immediately dispose of canine feces and clean the area. Besides the possibility of contracting hookworm infection, the general precept of cleanliness is at stake. The fecal matter that dogs with hookworm infection leave is extremely contagious and can easily be picked up by the human body.Cleaning the area where the dog defecated with water and soap or bleach is often the practice. However, it’s best to dust the area with pyrethrin, which is a common pesticide effective for preventing hookworm infection.
- Use Mebendazole for adults as a medicinal cure for hookworm infection. One of the most prescribed medications for hookworm infection, Mebendazole, whose commercial brand name is Vermox, eliminates hookworms from within the human body.The medication can be administered in one of two ways. It can either be taken as one-time dosage of 500 mg or taken twice a day for three days with a dosage of 100 mg. If the hookworm is not removed after three weeks to a month, a second dose may be needed. Mebendazole is usually used for humans only.
- Use Albendazole for children as a medicinal cure for hookworm infection. Albendazole is one of the most prescribed medicinal treatments for hookworm infection. With a commercial brand name of Albenza, it is often taken as one-time dosage of 400 mg. For children, though, it is taken in 200 mg doses for three days and repeated after three weeks to be certain that the infection is absolutely cured.Hookworms may cause serious illnesses for humans, especially for children. Anemia may cause all sorts of problem for the growth of children. It is best that they are carefully monitored during treatment.
- Use Pyrantel pamoate for pets as a medicinal cure for hookworm infection. Used for humans and pets, it is regarded as one of the best de-wormers on the market. More commonly known as Antiminth or Pin-X, it’s also used to cure pinworms.For humans, the recommended dose is 11 mg once a day for three days. For cats and dogs, the recommended dose is once a week done over the course of three weeks. Such a dose should be sufficient enough to stop the life cycle of the parasites and return the pet’s health to normal.
- Properly dispose of pet feces should be prioritized first and foremost. Pets should be house-trained so that feces will only be present in expected areas of the house to make cleaning easier.Pay close attention to where pets roam around outside the house, as well as the other animals they interact with, is quite significant to prevent hookworm infection.Rodents are also sources of hookworm infection. Houses are often littered with them and since cats and dogs enjoy catching and even eating them, hookworm infection is a definite possibility. Households should be cleaned inside-out, with pests like rodents removed within the vicinity to ensure a healthier environment.
- Use garlic as means to prevent hookworm infection. Fresh garlic cloves serve as antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agents, which are often used by alternative medicine practitioners as means to treat parasites, such as hookworms. The active compound found in garlic, allicin, acts as the catalyst to cure humans of roundworms, tapeworms, pinworms, and hookworms.A number of organic de-wormers can be found in nature. Though they are not as effective as Western medicine, organic materials such as wormwood, black walnut, and goldenseal are inexpensive, natural, and quite effective hookworm infection treatments. They are often used for pets.
Hookworms are parasites that cause various problems for humans and pets. It is important for every household to make sure that such parasites not harm the health of family members. Cleanliness is the most basic yet possibly the most important aspect of hookworm infection prevention.
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