Parasitic infections can impair your productivity levels to a significant extent. Among parasites, infections caused by worms such as ringworms can lead to near-fatal conditions. Those with weaker immunity levels are at added risks, as they are more likely to witness extremely adverse discomforts. Your treating physician will prescribe a few anti-parasitic meds which are approved by the food and drug administration (FDA). One such anti-parasitic drug is ivermectin. But, can ivermectin cause stomach upset or other discomforts in your gastric tract? It is a wise thing to know more.

Parasitic worms are of several types. These worms can play havoc as they live off the host – i.e., you. The risk of being infected by such worms is high in places where drinking water is contaminated. These worms may also infest your system if sanitary conditions are poor. Most of these worms are found on the intestinal walls. From here, they lay eggs and may get into other parts of your body. There are instances of some of these worms growing to reach 75 feet (or longer) in length.

Flatworms, also known as tapeworms, may get into your system if you consume uncooked or raw meat. Some of these worms may live up to as high as 25 years. Another type of parasitic worm is the hookworm; it may infest through contaminated soil or stools. These worms may get through your feet when walking barefoot on such soil. Their larva is known to penetrate through your skin. Pinworm is a different type of parasite. These are found mostly in children. Their airborne eggs may even be breathed in. These eggs are also found on beds, garments and other surfaces. They may find their way into your mouth if you have not cleaned or washed your hands after handling infected materials.

Presence of worms can be diagnosed through a few signs; most common symptoms include diarrhea, staying nauseated, pain in your lower abdomen, staying tired and loss of body weight. These parasites can be detected through tests done in stool samples, blood sample tests as well as by performing a colonoscopy. There are medications known as anti-parasitic drugs, and most commonly used drugs include albendazole and ivermectin.

What is ivermectin?

Ivermectin has a fairly large therapeutic bandwidth. It can treat infections caused by a wide range of parasites such as ringworms, whipworms as well as hookworms. This med has the needful approval of the food and drug administration to treat worm infections. As an extended use, this drug is also used for treating river blindness. Its antiviral capabilities are known to work against DNA as well as RNA viral strands of zika, dengue, yellow fever, etc.

Dosages of ivermectin need to be as per the medication plan prescribed by a qualified clinical practitioner. You are advised to take this med in an empty tummy. So, the best time to take it is at least 60 minutes prior to your meal. In some cases, dosage can be taken 2 or 3 hours after having food. Also, no two people who are infected by parasitic worms may have the same dosage plan. Your medication plan may depend on your age, severity of your condition, body weight and presence of prior ailments, if any. Usual dose is one per day. But, for those who are living with a compromised immune system, up to two dosages are administered.

It is recommended to adhere to your doctor’s instructions while taking this med. Also, you may be advised to opt for stool sample tests periodically. These tests can reveal the progress made and the efficacy of the drug, all through your medication plan. Never take a double dose if you have accidentally missed a dose of ivermectin. Instead, move ahead to your next dose by skipping the missed dose. However, if you have missed a few doses, talk to your caregiving team to help reschedule the dosage plan.

However, those who have prior allergies or hypersensitivity to the key ingredients of ivermectin must inform their caregiving team of such conditions. Also, if you are living with prior spells of renal disorders and autoimmune conditions such as HIV or cancers, your caregiver must be aware of these ailments. Medical research has not drawn out conclusive evidences on safety of this drug on pregnant women. So, if you are planning to become pregnant, you are advised to use birth control techniques while consuming this drug. You may use contraceptives such as vaginal rings, patches on skin, etc. On the other hand, if you are already pregnant, talk to your physician if you are infected by parasitic worms.

Can this drug cause stomach upset?

The most common side effects of ivermectin include pain in your stomach, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Talk to your treating doctor if these effects persist for long. Never take an overdose of this drug; adverse side effects of an overdosed situation are fits, seizures or convulsions. In some remote instances, overdose has led to near-fatal outcomes such as passing out, coma and in some rare cases, a severe overdose has led to death.

Ways to prevent likely infections of parasitic worms

Talk to your treating doctor about how to keep such attacks at bay. Foremost of all, refrain from eating uncooked or raw fish, meat as well as poultry products. It is a safe practice to disinfect your household utensils such as countertops and cutting boards. Also, never walk barefoot on soil that may have stool on them. If you are living with pets, ensure to clean waste discharged by pets as quickly as possible.

Last but not least, care to wash your hands with soap solution or with a disinfectant. Handwashing practice is a must prior to eating foods, handling meat, poultry or fish.  Washing your hand is considered safe after you have changed diapers or after touching your pet and / or having handled waste. If you are touring, care to drink bottled water. Also, make sure to know how your food is cooked and never leave your place without a hand sanitizer.

In sum, ivermectin is used for treating infections caused by a wide range of parasites like ringworms, hookworms, whipworms, etc. It also has a few antiviral properties; these help treat viral infections caused by zika as well as yellow fever. Common side effects ivermectin are pain in stomach, diarrhea and vomiting. Talk to your treating doctor if these discomforts persist. In general, stay aware of the safe dosage levels. Overdosed conditions are known to cause near-fatal or fatal outcomes.

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