Doctors warn of health risks from worm infections in children, highlight importance of deworming


Say untreated infections can lead to malnutrition, anaemia, impaired development

Jahangeer GanaieSrinagar, Mar 19 : Children who have worms often feel tired due to malnutrition and anaemia, which can lead to impaired physical and cognitive development, doctors have warned.In discussions with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), doctors said that while worm infections are relatively easy to control, parents must remain vigilant about their children’s health and behaviour. “Untreated worm infections not only hinder healthy growth but also contribute to poor nutrition, reducing a child’s ability to concentrate and learn,” they said.”The treatment is simple, safe, effective, and free of charge. A single dose of deworming treatment drastically reduces the number of worms in each child,” they explained.Dr Junaid, a pediatric specialist, informed KNO that worm infections can result in various health problems such as anaemia, abdominal distention, severe abdominal pain, and diarrhoea. They can lead to loss of appetite, malnourishment, impaired mental and physical development, as well as tissue damage requiring corrective surgery, he said.Similarly, Dr Shugufta said that deworming improves a child’s immunity, protecting them from chronic illnesses caused by worms. “It enhances concentration and attendance in school, increases nutrient uptake, and controls infections like anaemia and loose bowels. It also improves work potential and livelihood opportunities while reducing worm infection in the community,” he said.Addressing misconceptions, Dr Shugufta clarified that deworming can be administered in any season at regular intervals. However, she expressed concern that many children are not receiving deworming treatment, which contributes to the prevalence of anaemia.According to NFHS-5 data, approximately three-fourths (73%) of children aged 6-59 months are anaemic in India. This includes 25% with mild anaemia, 44% with moderate anaemia, and 4% with severe anaemia. The overall prevalence of anaemia in children has increased from 43% in NFHS-4 to 73% in NFHS-5, affecting both girls and boys equally.Children born to mothers with anaemia are more likely to be anaemic themselves, regardless of their mothers’ educational background. In Jammu & Kashmir, three-fourths (74%) of children are anaemic, even if their mothers have 12 or more years of schooling—(KNO)


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