There are many health problems that affect a growing child but none as common and as widespread as parasitism. The symptoms of parasite infestation may or may not be apparent especially if the child is healthy and has a strong immune resistance. But even in the cleanest environment and despite the outward healthy appearance of the child, it does not negate the fact that children are still susceptible to parasite infection. Every day when they go out to play in the yard or even inside the classroom, parents and teachers alike should share the responsibility of keeping the surroundings clean and free from clutter as well as prepare their food in the most hygienic manner so that kids can play and study safely and at the same time minimize the chance of picking up parasites from the room or from the food they eat.
One of the most common health problems affecting young children is loose bowel movement caused by amoeba infection. These very small parasites thrive in dirty or contaminated water and inadvertently ingested through contaminated food that we eat or water that we drink. Once inside the stomach, it can cause a lot of symptoms such as stomach pain, loose bowel movement, vomiting, fever and lack of appetite. Some children with very low resistance to amoeba infection can suffer emaciation and in worst cases, even death. Prompt treatment produces positive result but unless a proactive campaign to eliminate the source of infection is taken, the problem can persist or recur anytime and may threaten the long term health conditions of children.
This parasitic infection can easily be prevented by keeping the surroundings clean and preventing the children from coming in direct contact with breeding places such as dirty garden soil or swimming and playing in dirty and stagnant bodies of water. Amoeba infection is spread mainly through food and water and from people who are infected with the parasite. For this reason, people who come in contact with young children such as nannies, day care workers, teachers and most especially food handlers or servers should be screened to make sure they are clear of the parasite.
Food handlers should exercise precautions when using bare hands to prepare food. At home, practicing correct hand washing techniques will prevent contamination from spreading from the hands of infected persons to food that they prepare. Frequent hand washing is highly recommended. In school canteens and cafeterias, food handlers should wear protective clothing and gloves when preparing food for young children. Vegetables and meats should also be inspected thoroughly for any signs of decomposition before cooking. Milk, juices and other beverages should be packed and sealed tightly to prevent contamination.
Children and old people are the most common targets of amoeba infection because they have weak resistance to the parasite. Young adults may also carry the infection but are often times more capable to handle the infection or at best, asymptomatic. This thought should not lull us to complacency and neglect practicing precautions. After all, where health is concerned, prevention is always better than cure.