If you are a self-described germaphobe who squirms at the thought of bacteria and viruses lurking around your home, then you may not be too happy if you learn that your child has contracted a parasitic worm. This can happen though, and it is often described as a type of skin infection that can be treated by a dermatologist or other type of medical professional. If a parasitic worm does infect your child, there are many reasons why you should not panic.
Most Worms Can Be Treated Quite Easily
Parasitic worms commonly infect people in developing nations, and most worms can be found in Africa. However, the worms can still reside in the United States and can find their way into your child's body. This can happen if the insect that spreads the worm makes its way to this country within shipping containers. Flies are the most common carrier of worm parasites. For example, the common deerfly carries the loa loa parasite, and the worm can enter the body through a single bite from the fly.
If your child does become infected with a worm, then treatment will be required. Thankfully, treatments are typically simple and easy to administer. In most cases, a drug called an antiparasitic can be given that kills the worm. The antiparasitic variety will depend on the type of worm that has infected the body. In some cases, a medicine called Ivermectin will be given. If this medicine sounds familiar, that's because it is often given to dogs and cats as a deworming or antiparasitic agent.
Ivermectin, as well as the other varieties of antiparasitic drugs, are considered safe for mammals. One dose is usually all that is needed for humans, but the medication may be provided every three months if the parasitic infection is a persistent one.
A simple dose of antibiotics can sometimes be provided to kill and sterilize some parasites. Antibiotics can also help to treat and control bacterial skin issues that can develop after a parasitic worm infection. Your child may also be given an NSAID pain reliever for discomfort and an antihistamine to reduce swelling. Steroidal medications and creams can be provided too. Once treatment is started, symptoms should reduce fairly quickly, and the infection should go away completely within a few days or a few weeks.
Symptoms Are Typically Mild
While a skin infection that involves a worn may sound frightening and bring about images of worms wiggling under the skin, this is not something that will happen. While some worms do migrate, like the loa loa worm, they will do this late in their life cycle. Symptoms will appear well before the worm moves, and it will not wiggle under the skin. Most of the time, the worm will remain in the fatty tissue near the fly or insect bite wound.
While the loa loa worm remains in place, your child will experience some red, swollen, and itchy patches on the skin. Your child may develop a fever at the time of infection too. Similar symptoms that include rashes, hives, fevers, and swollen lymph nodes will occur with other types of worm infections. This means that your child will not be in agony as they seek treatment.
Typically, a history will be taken to determine if your child has come into contact with any insects that may have caused a parasitic infestation. This is likely to include questions about past vacations or trips to areas where cargo may have been unloaded from a country that has parasite-spreading insects. Also, blood samples will likely be taken and investigated for antibodies that may have been produced by the immune system to combat the worm infection.
For more information on treating skin infections, talk to a doctor at a medical facility like Premier Urgent Care Centers of California, Inc.