What, Why, Where, How: Deworming
by Andrea Peñaflorida, M.D
The Department of Health holds January and July of every year as the National Deworming Month. This drive aims to move towards eliminating intestinal parasitism most specially in children. Currently, the government already offers free deworming services in government and barangay centers. It’s a good idea to take advantage of this chance to stay healthy.
Things to know about Deworming
Intestinal worms are a common occurrence due to the variety of sources from which they can be obtained. It can be contracted through undercooked meat (chicken, beef, pork, or fish), polluted water, contaminated soil, feces from worm-infested individuals, or poor sanitation and hygiene. The high environmental exposure places both children and adults at risk to intestinal parasitism.
Signs and symptoms of intestinal parasitism are:
• Abdominal pain
• Diarrhea with presence of blood or mucus at times
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss and inadequate absorption of nutrients which may lead to Malnutrition.
Adults who need to be dewormed
We commonly believe that deworming should only be done on children, and that adults do not require it. This is a common misconception. Deworming is still recommended as a public health intervention for those living in areas where there is a high prevalence of any soil-transmitted helminths causing intestinal parasitism.
For pregnant women, deworming can be done after the 1st trimester for those residing in areas where hookworm or Trichuris trichiuria infection is more than 20% and where anemia is a public health concern.
When and where should you deworm?
The World Health Organization (WHO) and Department of Health (DOH) recommends the use of anti-helminthic drug Albendazole or Mebendazole, once or twice a year depending on the baseline prevalence of parasitism in the locality.
Deworming is contraindicated to those exhibiting fever and any abdominal symptoms such as pain and diarrhea. These patients may be dewormed once well.
It is recommended that one seek the guidance of a healthcare professional for the appropriate dosage and instructions on deworming.