As we have entered the second quarter of 2020, deworming may be the last priority. Covid-19, the flu, colds, and respiratory tract infections are looming. Dare we say, ‘Winter is coming!’

Yes, Game of Thrones references are so last year, but worms, sadly, are not. In the proverbial sense, worms have been confirmed to ‘air another season’ – so let’s shut them down with some deworming!

Mopani covered this topic not too long ago, so feel free to read the original article here, for more info.

Although the products at Mopani Pharmacy are multipurpose and can get rid of a variety of intestinal worms, we might as well learn the difference between them.

Types of intestinal worms



Roundworm – Credit: ZME Science

  • It is thought that 1 in 7 persons could be infected with this worm.
  • Ingested in food or water that contain the eggs that will hatch in the gut.
  • The larvae may penetrate through to the bloodstream.
  • When they reach the lungs, they are coughed up and swallowed back into the gut, where they can mature and reproduce again.
  • Adult worms can be up to 30 centimetres long.
  • A female worm can produce up to a million eggs every four days!
  • Evidence of roundworms or their eggs may be found in stool.


Intestinal Worms

Threadworms, computer illustration. Credit: Science Source

  • Threadworms infest the large intestines.
  • Female worms will exit the anus to lay their eggs on a person’s skin, this may cause irritation and itching around the genitals.
  • Since the eggs are on exposed skin, movement and scratching may disrupt them, scattering them. This poses a risk for people around you to be exposed and get infected too.
  • These worms are about three centimetres long and have the appearance of a frayed white thread.


Intestinal Worms

Whipworm, Credit: Haiku Deck

  • Whipworms infest the large intestines and burrow into the inner layer, causing internal bleeds.
  • This may cause blood in stool and left untreated, anaemia.
  • They are usually found in soil where sanitation is poor – think about that part of your garden where the cat does it’s business.
  • Whipworms are about three centimetres long as adults.


Hookworm, Credit: Newsweek

  • Larvae of the hookworm penetrate the skin and move through the bloodstream to the lungs, where they can be coughed up and swallowed again.
  • They attach to the small intestine, where they develop into adult worms
  • Infestation can occur when you ingest contaminated food or water, or come into contact with contaminated soil.
  • Hookworms are about one centimetre long.
  • Symptoms may include coughing, asthma, tummy ache, weight loss, diarrhoea.


intestinal worms

Tapeworm, Credit: The Sun

  • By far the largest of intestinal worms, these can grow to be up to 10 metres long and have more than 1000 segments. Each segment may reproduce.
  • Tapeworms are hermaphroditic and can reproduce on their own.
  • Segments filled with eggs break away and spread throughout the gut.
  • Tapeworm larvae can penetrate the tissues of their host – they may lead to hydrocephalus (parasites in the brain).
  • They are often ingested in undercooked meats or contaminated food, water or soil.
  • Evidence of tapeworms, segments and their eggs are often found in stool.


Bilharzia, Credit: The independent

  • Usually contracted from contaminated, still / non-moving water with infected aquatic snails.
  • Penetrates the skin, into the bloodstream and may settle in the organs, near the urinary tract.
  • Can cause liver / kidney damage
  • You can read more about Bilharzia here

Whilst we are washing our hands frequently now anyway, we can add a few steps to ensure that we are keeping ourselves and our homes, parasite free:

  • Regularly clean your bathroom and kitchen surfaces with warm, soapy water
  • Pick up after your animals, even if they do their business outside
  • Use gloves when gardening
  • Wash fruit and vegetables before you cook or eat them, in running water
  • Check your meat for any abnormalities
  • Avoid swimming in stagnant water
  • Cook meat thoroughly
  • Wash pyjamas and bedding and pet bedding regularly in hot water, dry it in sunlight, and use an iron when possible
  • Deworm yourself, your family and your pets every three to six months
  • Keep your nails clean
  • For more info on proper hand-washing, read more here

Mopani Pharmacy has a variety of oral medications and deworming available. Worm infections interfere with nutrient uptake, can lead to anaemia, malnourishment and impaired mental and physical development, and pose a serious threat to a person’s health, cognitive ability and productivity.

The most common symptoms of worm infestation are lack of appetite, tiredness, anaemia, loose bowels, vomiting. However, most people who eat enough and are not suffering from an exorbitant amount of infestations may never present symptoms. That means, you could have worms for years and have no idea! Other symptoms are often missed. Children who have intestinal parasites might grind their teeth. Nail-biting may even be the cause of worms.

If your symptoms persist after making use of a deworming medication, please consult your doctor.

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