The Symptoms of Round Worms or Ascaris Lumbricoides Infection

Itching of nose; colic pains; boring pains in abdomen; fickle appetite; distension of stomach; diarrhea, with passage of mucus tinged with blood; dark eyelids; face swollen; foul breath; unequal dilatation of pupils; unpleasant dreams; starting during sleep as if frightened; grinding of teeth; pains in limbs; irregular pulse; general wasting; also many o f the symptoms described as indicating tape-worm; only positive sign, expulsion of worms.

Other symptoms not mentioned above are sometimes produced by the migratory tendencies of the worm. It seems to have a special fondness for getting into narrow places. The worms have been found in the oesophagus, the nose, the Eustachian tube, the nasal duct, the air-passages, the pancreatic and gall ducts, and even in the bladder and uterus, as well as in the stomach and intestines, where they are chiefly found. They do not usually remain long in the stomach, the irritation produced by their presence inducing vomiting. The disposition round worms have for squeezing themselves through very small openings has been taken advantage of by an ingenious physician in the construction of a "worm-trap." This worm is represented of natural size in Fig. 284.

Fig. 284. Round Worm, natural size.

Fig. 284. Round Worm, natural size.

The Cause of Round Worms or Ascaris Lumbricoides Infection

The only cause for round-worms is the reception of their eggs into the system. It is supposed that they are introduced into the stomach by the use of celery, salads, raw vegetables, and perhaps fruits. They may also be introduced by drinking water which has been contaminated with the soakings from privies, etc. The eggs will retain their vitality for many years, and are not destroyed by freezing or drying. The embryo, also, when partially developed, shows almost equal tenacity of life. The worm inhabits the small intestine. It is cylindrical in form, of a dirty reddish yellow or light brownish color, and seven to ten inches in length, the females being a little longer than the males. This parasite is very common in some countries, quite a large proportion of the inhabitants being affected.

The Treatment of Round Worms or Ascaris Lumbricoides Infection

The best remedy is santonin. Give in doses of one-third of a grain to infants, and one-half grain to a grain and a half to adults, to be given in capsules or in a syrup four times in one day. The last dose should be followed by a laxative dose of castor-oil.

Another very useful remedy which we have often used with success is the following: Fl. Ex. of senna and Fl. Ex. of spigelia, equal parts. Dose: one to four teaspoonfuls three times a day, according to the age of the patient. Continue this treatment for two or three days. If no worms appear in the bowel discharges, there are probably none present.