• Question: How can you possibly get worms? how can they grow? Do you eat them ???

    Asked by push1new to Erin P on 18 Mar 2024.
    • Photo: Erin Pallott

      Erin Pallott answered on 18 Mar 2024:

      Worms are a wide range of parasites that can infect humans (and other animals). Different types include tapeworms, roundworms, and flatworms, all having many species.

      There are lots of different ways people can become infected with worms. Swallowing eggs and larvae is one way some are spread, which can be in contaminated water and food. Eggs are then shed through the host’s faeces so the cycle can continue. These types of worms are still VERY prevalent in the world, infecting over 1.5 billion people.

      Other parasitic worms can infected through the skin, like hookworms and schistosomes. Some others are even passed through insect bites.

      The most common worm infection in the UK is threadworm/pinworm. Worms infect the gut and lay eggs around the anus at night, which is very itchy. If someone scratches the area, or eggs fall onto clothes and bedding, they can reach the mouth if hands aren’t washed. So this infection is very common in young children who don’t quite understand the importance of handwashing yet!

      Worms grow from feeding on your own tissues, or the food you consume if they infect the gut. This means common symptoms are malnutrition or anaemia (from blood loss).