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Walking barefoot? – Hookworm Symptoms Checker

 

Human hookworm is a frequent helminth infection due to two parasites, Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale. Although to a lesser extent, Ancylostoma ceylonicum, Ancylostoma braziliense, and Ancylostoma caninum can also cause disease.

Helminth is a broad term indicating worm. Nematodes (also known as roundworms) are a type of helminths with specific characteristics in common. Several roundworms are known for causing diseases in humans, such as Ascaris, pinworms, whipworms, and hookworms.

People acquire the hookworm infection by their skin’s exposure to parasite’s larvae (little worms) in soil infected due to human stools. When people that carry this infection defecate in the soil, after more or less ten days, the larvae develop, and they can infect unaware people walking barefoot in that soil. Sadly, depending on the conditions, the soil could remain infectious for several weeks.

When the parasite enters the skin, there is a skin rash. Then, It goes through the bloodstream and reaches the lungs. Lung symptoms can also occur. The parasite climbs the airway, and people swallow it without noticing, and now they have the infection in their gut. In this latter place is where the parasite lives, particularly in the small intestine. If people do not get the infection again, they are cured after the parasite dies; it can take up to one year for A. duodenale and three to five years for N. americanus to die.

The estimation is that hookworm infection affects almost 500 million people worldwide. It does not always cause symptoms when infecting people. Therefore, this parasite can remain in its host for many years. The latter fact translates into possible complications like anemia and impairment of mental and physical development.

Doctors have several ways of diagnosing this disease. The most important one for its reliability and cost (affordable) is a stool examination. Here, it is possible to see the parasite’s eggs. Regarding treatment, most cases only require antiparasite treatment and supplementation for the anemia. Still, if there are complications, some other treatments may be necessary.

This tool is a Hookworm Symptoms Checker. It gathers the most important signs, symptoms, and risk factors for this infection.

Several risk factors put people at a higher risk for having this infection. In the United States, living in the Southeastern States plus many other variables,  like not having adequate sewage systems, are among those risk factors.

Before diagnosing this infection, doctors would discard other parasitic infections or possible underlying diseases with similar symptoms to hookworm infection, which are many. Therefore, for diagnosing hookworm infection, both blood and stool tests are necessary, besides any other study for discarding severer diseases or complications due to hookworms like gut bleeding or heart failure.

Despite that, the tool cannot diagnose this infection. It gathers questions with the most important signs, symptoms, and risk factors for hookworm infection. Consequently, the tool will tell anybody who uses it the likelihood of their symptoms because of this infection or people at a higher risk of having it. Using the tool is free and would only take a few minutes.

  • Question of

    Do you have twelve years or less?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Did you travel to rural tropical or subtropical areas of Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, or Latin America in the last two years?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Are you a recent immigrant of the United States? (Click yes if you have less than two years)

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you have been diagnosed with other roundworms like ascariasis or trichuriasis?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you live in Puerto Rico?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you live in an urban area of a Southeastern State of the United States? (It includes: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia)

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you lack a sewerage system in your household? (Click yes if in your home the sewage is collected by pipes from septic tanks or cesspits)

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Is there open (or raw) sewage near your house contaminating the natural water or soil?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you tend to walk barefoot in places that could have contaminated soil with human feces? [i.e., persons defecating outside (near bushes, in a garden, or field) or if the human’s wastes are used as fertilizer]

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Did you have for one or two weeks (or are you having right now) a very itchy reddish skin rash in your hands or feet? (It will typically appear after walking barefoot in a tropical beach or any warm, moist, sandy soil)

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Approximately ten days after that skin rash, did you have (or are you having right now) fever, cough, and/or sore throat?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you have right now diarrhea (loose stools or a higher number of bowel movements), mild abdominal pain or discomfort, nausea (feeling like throwing up), passing too many gases, or do you lack your normal appetite? (Click yes if you have at least two of these symptoms)

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Did you have any of these symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, passing too many gases, or lack of appetite approximately a month or two after the skin rash appeared?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you have very dark or bloody stools?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you have been diagnosed with anemia due to iron deficiency?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you have fatigue, leg cramps on climbing stairs, cold intolerance (cold hands and feet), headache, feeling dizzy, pallor in your skin, or mucous membranes (like the inner portion of your eyelids, which is supposed to be red but now is paler)? (If you have at least two of these symptoms, click yes)

    • Yes
    • No

Written by Dr. Esteban Kosak

Doctor of Medicine - MD Recently Graduated from Medical School and inspired to aid the global population during this situation. I think that we shall no longer be waiting to see a doctor when we feel sick. Several times we feel disease searches in Google drive us to a rabbit hole and come out thinking that we may die of cancer or something very serious, given that symptoms may seem to fit a wide variety of illnesses. Since I recently graduated from medical school. I have all the medical information fresh in my mind. My thorough experience as an expert researcher allows me to very-well known the different diseases and conditions that affect human bodies. Empowered by the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). I think that we all can provide a grain of sand to help humanity. That's why we created Symptoms.Care a place where you can come and screen your symptoms and find what different illnesses can be related to them. Armed with the right information you can instantly, discretely, secure and from the comfort of your home talk with a Doctor that can Evaluate your Symptoms and help you seek the right treatment.

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