Conditions A-Z l DetailRoundworm
A roundworm infection is a disease of the digestive tract, which is caused by a group of parasitic worms known as nematodes.
Roundworm infections can occur all over the world but is most common in warm, moist climates and in countries were raw fish or squid is popular.
The first symptoms may occur while the larvae are in the lungs. They may include difficulty in breathing, coughing and chest pain. When the larvae reach the intestines, symptoms may include cramps and nausea.
The most common way of contracting a roundworm infection is by eating contaminated food or touching the mouth with unwashed hands.
In Ireland, the only common type of roundworm is the threadworm.
Ascariasis is a common type of roundworm infection worldwide, but is uncommon in Ireland. It is one of the most widespread parasitic infections in the world, affecting over one billion people. Ascarid roundworms are capable of growing up to 14 inches long and releasing 200,000 eggs a day.
The eggs infect people who eat unwashed vegetables from contaminated soil or touch their mouths with unwashed hands.
With this particular infection, the larvae end up in the intestine but only after they have travelled through other areas such as the lungs and the liver.
There is no vaccine against roundworm infection and if you contract it, you will not become immune to it. Therefore prevention is essential. Strict hygiene is essential, especially when it comes to food. Always wash your hands before and after eating or preparing food.
With regard to toxocariasis, keep children away from areas that may be contaminated with pet faeces. If you have a pet cat or dog, always clean up their faeces so there is none in the garden or house.
Malnutrition may be associated with roundworm infection, so maintaining optimal nutritional status may be helpful in preventing and treating roundworm infection. A comprehensive treatment plan for roundworm infections may include a range of complementary and alternative therapies. Ask your team of health care providers about the best ways to incorporate these therapies into your overall treatment plan. Always tell your health care provider about the herbs and supplements you are using or considering using.