Tapeworms are segmented and flat worms that stay in the intestine of animals. They may get infected with these parasites when drinking contaminated water or grazing in pastures.
If you want to eat under cooked meat from these infected animals, then this is the major cause of tapeworm infection in people. Though tapeworms in humans usually cause some symptoms that can be treated easily, they can sometimes be serious and life-threatening problems. Thus, it is essential to know the symptoms and how you can protect yourself as well as your family members.
Causes of tapeworm
There are six kinds of tapeworms that infect people. They are usually recognized by the animals they come from such as Taenia solium from pork, Taenia saginata from beef and Diphyllobothrium latum from fish.
Tapeworms have three-stage lifecycle: egg, an immature stage known as a larva, and an adult stage when the worm can produce more eggs. Since larvae can enter into the muscles of their hosts, there might be infection when you eat undercooked or raw meat from an infected animal.
Thus, it is quite possible to contract pork tapeworms from the foods that are made by an infected person. Since tapeworm eggs are usually passed with bowel movements, an individual who does not wash hands properly after wiping and prepares the food can infect it.
Symptoms of tapeworm
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Hunger or loss of appetite
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
However, tapeworms usually do not cause any symptoms. The only sign of getting infected from a tapeworm might be segments of the worms that are moving in a bowel movement.
Tapeworms might cause serious complications in extreme cases that include – blocking the intestine or smaller ducts in the intestine such as pancreatic duct or bile duct.
If pork tapeworm larvae leave the intestine, they may travel to other body parts and cause further damage to the eyes, brain, heart and liver. These infections may be life-threatening, at times.
Treatment for Tapeworms
If you are detecting the symptoms of tapeworms, it is advised to see a doctor at the best private clinic in London. Diagnosing a tapeworm infection might require a stool sample to recognize the kind of worm.
In case worms are not detected in the stool, the doctor might perform a blood test to check for the antibodies produced to fight against this infection. In serious cases, your doctor might use imaging tests like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) to know the damage caused outside the digestive tract.
The length and kind of the treatment will depend on the type of tapeworm you have. Tapeworms are generally treated by taking a medicine and the commonly used medicine is praziquantel(Biltricide).
These medications weaken the tapeworms that release the intestine, dissolve, and pass from the body through bowel movements. If worms seem to be large, you might have cramping when they pass. Your doctor at the private clinic in London will be rechecking stool samples at one and three months after the treatment. When tapeworms get into the intestines, proper treatment will help to get rid of them in most cases.
More serious complications of tapeworm infection can be treated with medications.
You can lessen the risk of tapeworms by washing hands before and after using the toilet and by following these effective tips for eating food.
- Do not eat raw meat and fish.
- Cook meat properly to temperatures of 145 degrees Fahrenheit for whole cuts of meat and to 160 degrees F for poultry and ground meat. After this, allow the meat to rest for the next three minutes before consuming or carving; the heat will continue to kill pathogens during that time.
- Freeze meat at -4 degrees F for 24 hours to kill tapeworm eggs.
- While traveling in undeveloped countries, cook vegetables and fruits with boiled or chemically-treated water before eating.
- Wash hands with hot water and soap before preparing or eating any food.
You may visit a reputed private clinic in London where the doctors provide effective tips on preparing and eating foods with clean hands only in order to prevent any kind of infection.