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What are the Best Tips for Getting Rid of Tapeworms?

Jeri Sullivan
Jeri Sullivan

Tapeworms are intestinal parasites that lives in humans and other animals. They are white, flat worms that are segmented. Getting rid of tapeworms involves taking an oral tapeworm medicine. The tapeworms that most commonly affect humans are Taenia solium, Taenia saginata, and Hemynolepis nana. The most common tapeworms to affect animals are Taenia solium and echinococcus granulosus.

Getting rid of tapeworms first involves determining if the person or animal is infected. In humans, there may be no symptoms or there may be varying stages of fatigue, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Animals, especially dogs, may exhibit signs such as lack of appetite, listlessness, and diarrhea. A doctor can determine the presence of tapeworms by examining the stool.

Washing hands before eating is a good way to prevent reinfestation.
Washing hands before eating is a good way to prevent reinfestation.

Once tapeworm activity has been determined, the person or animal will need to take an oral medication to kill the adult tapeworms. The most commonly prescribed medications for humans are praziquantal and albendazole, which work to kill adults and prevent them from laying eggs. Since no medications specifically kill the eggs, getting rid of tapeworms requires diligence to prevent reinfection.

A tapeworm is a parasite that lives in a host's intestines.
A tapeworm is a parasite that lives in a host's intestines.

Tapeworms are transmitted to humans through food, water, soil, and infected people or animals. The best tips for getting rid of tapeworms and preventing reinfestation include thoroughly washing hands before eating. Other tips include ensuring meats are fully cooked before consuming, avoiding contact with animal feces, and wearing shoes while outside.

Taenia solium, or pork tapeworm, is a type of tapeworm that affects both humans and animals such as dogs. When an infected pig passes feces into soil that is used to grow crops, the eggs can become accidentally ingested, thus infecting the person eating or drinking the contaminated material. The larvae also live in the muscles or tissues of the infected pig so eating meat from a pig that has tapeworms can pass the tapeworms into the intestines.

The same process of infestation is applicable to taenia saginata, which is beef tapeworm, and diphyllobothrium latum, which is fish tapeworm. Buying meat and fish from reputable sources and making sure to fully cook the product should prevent infestation. If getting rid of tapeworms is still required due to eating undercooked food, take the prescribed oral medications to kill adult tapeworms and immediately start cooking all meats to appropriate temperatures.

Since tapeworms live in the intestinal tract and are expelled through feces, proper hygiene is essential to preventing a reinfestation. Make sure to bathe regularly and thoroughly clean the anal area. Wash hands frequently and avoid putting them around the mouth.

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    • Washing hands before eating is a good way to prevent reinfestation.
      By: Lasse Kristensen
      Washing hands before eating is a good way to prevent reinfestation.
    • A tapeworm is a parasite that lives in a host's intestines.
      By: 3drenderings
      A tapeworm is a parasite that lives in a host's intestines.