In most cases, worm infestation in humans can be treated with over-the-counter remedies. Most of the medications contain either mebendazole or albendazole, which are compounds that kill the worms without causing any damage to human tissue. These medications are meant to rid the body of the worm infestation with a single dose; however, in some cases, follow-up dosages are necessary. Some herbal remedies may also help rid the body of worms. Some of these include grapefruit extract, garlic, and wormwood.
One popular homeopathic treatment for worms is called intestinal cleansing. This typically consists of consuming only raw vegetables for a period of several days, often followed by several days of fasting. During the fasting period, only liquids should be consumed. There are many different opinions on how many days this diet should last, ranging from 14-21 days. There appears to be little evidence to suggest that this treatment is actually effective in treating worms, although it may help to cleanse the lower bowel, so any parasites living in the lower bowel would probably be eradicated.
Whether using an over-the-counter treatment or a natural remedy, some research suggests that following treatment, changes in diet can help the treatment be more effective. Vitamin A may help create an intestinal environment that is inhospitable to worm infestation, so eating foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes is recommended. In addition, some foods are rich in bromelain, an enzyme that may help rid the body of worms. Pineapple and papaya are some of the best food sources for this enzyme.
Some of the most common parasites found in worm infestations include round worms, pinworms, and tapeworms. These worms are so tiny that they are sometimes only visible under microscopes, and certainly are not easy to spot with the naked eye. It is very easy to pick up worms on the hands or feet, especially while outdoors, as many of them live in the top layers of soil.
Children and people who have pets are believed to be at higher risk for contracting worms. Children do not always practice proper hygiene, and frequently transfer worms by putting their fingers in their mouths or by failing to wash their hands before eating. Pet owners are at risk because dogs and cats often carry parasites, and the simple act of stroking their coat can result in transference of worms.
Prevention is usually the best medicine, and there are some simple ways to help prevent worm infestations. Hygiene is probably key, so it is important to wash hands before eating. It is also a good idea to wash raw fruits and vegetables prior to cooking. In addition, keeping a clean environment is also important, especially in kitchens, bathrooms, and eating areas. Wearing shoes while outdoors is also recommended.