National Deworming Day 2024 – Guide on Intestinal Worms, Their Symptoms and Treatment

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Updated on Jan 23, 2024

February 10 marks the National Deworming Day observed every year across India. Let us understand the importance of deworming and follow the measures to prevent intestinal worms.  

So, what is national deworming day? India observes National Deworming Day across the country on February 10 to eliminate the Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH), commonly known as intestinal worms in humans. National Deworming Day  is an initiative of the government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Through this event the government aims at making every child between the age of 1-19 years, worm free.

To make the Deworming Day a huge success, the government conducts the deworming drive aided by teachers of all government run schools or the schools run by government aid. Further, the drive also includes Anganwadi Workers to support in the annual program held to improve the health, nutrition, quality education and overall enhancement of living quality.

The parasitic intestinal worms or STH is the reason for millions of children in India within 1 to 14 years of age to be at health risk. As per a WHO report, India accounts for over 241 million children, which is 28 % of the global count of children to be under the risk of STH.

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What Do You Mean by Intestinal Worms?

These are parasites that thrive within the human intestine. The worms lay eggs in thousands of numbers on an everyday basis and depend on the human intestine for food and survival.  These parasites consume nutrients that are supposed to be the requirement of the human body.

Types Of Intestinal Worms

There are three main kinds of STH which infect children:

  • Roundworm, also known as Ascaris lumbricoides
  • Whipworm, also known as Trichuris trichiura, and
  • Hookworm, also known as Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale

How Does the STH Transmit?

These parasites thrive through adult worms that generally live in the human intestine. They produce thousands of eggs regularly on a daily basis. These eggs of the infected person can pass through their faeces, especially when people defecate outside. This way these parasitic eggs contaminate the soil and spread the infection everywhere easily.

Later, when children eat vegetables that are grown in this contaminated soil, they get sick, especially if the vegetables are not properly cleaned and cooked.  Hence, the parasites spread through the ingested vegetables and through contaminated soil. In addition, they may also infect children when they play in the soil and eat with dirty, soiled hands or even through contaminated water.

How STH impacts the Human Body?

STH may lead to Malnutrition, Reduced nutritional intake, Loss of iron and protein in the blood, low oxygen supply in the body, underweight, Impaired mental, physical & cognitive development as well as Stunted growth in some cases.

Symptoms of STH

STH can thrive in the intestine of both adults and children for long without making the person aware. However, here are some visible intestinal worm symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anaemia
  • Dysentery and Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss etc.

Treatment of STH

For the treatment of STH, there is a WHO recommended anti-helminthic drug which the government of India has specified. Though the dosage of the medication would depend on the age of the child.

Why is Deworming a Child Important?

Deworming a child is important for:

  • Fast and healthy growth of the child
  • To make the child resilient against other infections
  • To make the child active at school and for better learning abilities
  • To help the child not to miss school due to illness.
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How To Prevent STH?

STH can be treated through medication. However, it is necessary to remain alert and follow the precautions to avoid the infection. Below are some preventive measures to follow:

  • Always use toilets to defecate and never do it outside
  • Go to the washroom for defecation wearing slippers
  • Eat food that is properly cooked
  • Always wash fruits and vegetables well with clean water before consuming
  • Also, wash hands properly with soap and water after using toilets and before eating

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To Conclude

It is very important to ensure proper treatment of the worm because if it remains untreated for a long time, it can affect the child’s health. Along with medicine, one can also use the home remedies for intestinal worms to get rid of the worms.

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FAQs: National Deworming Day

What is the main objective of National deworming Day?

Objective of National deworming Day is to deworm children within the age group of 1-19 years. For this the government has taken the support of various platforms like schools and Anganwadi Centres to improve the health and quality of life of children.

How frequently should deworming be done?

When infected with worms, it is required to be dewormed periodically. For children above 2 years as well as adults deworming should be done 2 to 3 times a year that is every 4 to 6 months.

When is the best time of the day to take Dewormers?

Deworm medicine can be taken at any time of the day. However, the best time to drink it is the early morning hours on an empty stomach or 2 hours after dinner.

What age group can take deworming?

Medicine for intestinal worms should be given to children 1 to 5 years of age. Do not give deworm to infants younger than 1 year (0-11 months). Moreover, anyone from 2 to 14 years can have deworming medicine. 

How important is deworming for humans?

Deworming substantially improves the health of children who are affected by the parasites. Hence, deworming is important for humans.

When is National Deworming Day celebrated?

National Deworming Day in India is observed on February 10 every year.

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Jan 23, 2024
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