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Tapeworm infection can be experienced by anyone who lives in an environment with poor sanitation or often consumes food that is not processed properly. Although relatively mild, tapeworms can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious he alth problems
Tapeworms are flat and have many segments along their bodies. Adult tapeworms can reach 25 meters in length and can live up to 30 years.
Consuming food and drink containing tapeworm larvae or eggs can cause tapeworm infections, for example in undercooked beef, pork and fish.
Tapeworm eggs that enter the digestive system can hatch and cause intestinal infections. Meanwhile, tapeworm eggs that manage to get out of the digestive tract can enter other body tissues or organs, triggering infection and forming a sac filled with worms in that location.
Tapeworm Infection Symptoms
Intestinal infections caused by tapeworms are generally relatively mild. In fact, infected people sometimes don't feel any symptoms. However, there are several symptoms that can appear when experiencing a tapeworm infection in the intestine, including:
- Shortness of breath
- stomach ache
- Loss of appetite
- Losing weight
- Problems in absorption of food nutrients
Other symptoms are the appearance of lumps or cysts, allergic reactions, seizures, to coma if the tapeworm infection has spread to the brain.
Diagnostic Steps and How to Overcome Them
Infections caused by adult tapeworms can be identified from feces containing eggs or body parts of tapeworms. Its characteristics are white, small in size like rice grains, and sometimes moving.
To determine the diagnosis, the doctor will perform a physical examination and review the area around the anus to detect the presence of tapeworm eggs or larvae. In addition, stool analysis in the laboratory is also required to determine the cause of infection.
This stool examination will usually be done 2-3 times. Other supporting examinations that are also carried out to confirm tapeworm infection are X-rays, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, and blood tests.
The treatment of tapeworm infection is generally done by giving worm medicine in the form of drinking tablets. This medicine will eradicate tapeworms which will later be expelled with feces.
If the tapeworm is large, the sufferer may experience stomach cramps during the process. After the treatment is complete, the doctor will recommend a re-examination of the stool to make sure that the tapeworm is completely dead.
Several types of drugs that are widely used in the treatment of tapeworm infections are praziquantel, albendazole, and niclosamide. The type of drug that will be given by the doctor depends on the type and location of the tapeworm infection in the body.
For severe infections or when tapeworms have invaded other body parts such as the brain, eyes, and liver, surgical treatment is required.
Preventing Tapeworm Infection
Get used to washing hands with soap and water before cooking and before eating, can reduce the risk of infection with tapeworms. Apart from that, there are several things you can do to prevent tapeworm infection, namely:
- Freeze meat before processing and consume at a temperature of -35 degrees Celsius for 24 hours to kill tapeworm eggs.
- Consumption of meat and fish that have been cooked until cooked with a minimum temperature of 65o
- Wash vegetables and fruit and if necessary, process vegetables by boiling and cooking them until cooked.
- Keep yourself and the environment clean by implementing a clean and he althy lifestyle.
- Take worm medicine every year to prevent infection and spread of worms.
Tapeworm infection generally does not cause specific symptoms, so the sufferer is often not aware of it. If you experience symptoms that suggest a tapeworm infection, consult your doctor so that he can be examined to make sure and given the appropriate treatment.