Can a nursing mother be dewormed? Which dewormer is safe?

by Johnny Jacks
Dealing with the question of whether breastfeeding mothers can undergo deworming necessitates a thoughtful evaluation of the situation. Our bodies can be susceptible to worm infestations for various reasons. This article seeks to provide answers regarding when it is appropriate for nursing mothers to consider deworming, ensuring the safety of both the mother and the baby.

Can Nursing Mothers Undergo Deworming?

The decision to deworm during breastfeeding should be made on a case-by-case basis, guided by the advice of a healthcare professional. The circumstances can be broadly categorized into two scenarios:

  • Mother SHOULD NOT Deworm: If the purpose of deworming is for routine preventive measures and is not linked to any specific disease or infection.
  • Mother SHOULD CONSIDER Deworming: In cases involving a serious helminth infection that poses a health risk. Some potentially harmful conditions may necessitate deworming, such as lung fluke infection or beef tapeworm infection.

Note: It is essential for mothers to seek consultation from a healthcare provider before undergoing deworming. A qualified healthcare professional can prescribe a suitable and safe deworming medication that ensures the well-being of both the mother and the baby, without affecting the secretion of breast milk.

This article aims to offer guidance to nursing mothers and provide them with the necessary information to make informed decisions about deworming while breastfeeding.

Deworming While Breastfeeding: When It’s Necessary

Medical experts advise that mothers should consider deworming even while breastfeeding, particularly in cases of helminth infections. Below, we delve into the details of the three most common scenarios:

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Lung Fluke (Paragonimus westermani) Infection

Lung fluke infection arises from parasitic flatworms, known as flukes or lung flukes. This ailment typically occurs when individuals consume undercooked crabs or shrimp. It can lead to conditions resembling pneumonia, along with inflammation of the intestines and stomach, often persisting for an extended duration.

Common symptoms associated with lung fluke infection include:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Stomachache

Bovine Tapeworm Infection (Taenia saginata)

Tapeworm infection is the result of a tapeworm infestation, a type of parasite that depends on other living organisms, known as hosts, for its survival. Many individuals with taeniasis infections remain asymptomatic. However, when symptoms do manifest, they may encompass:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Rapid, uncontrolled weight loss
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Poor digestion, possibly leading to nausea and indigestion
  • Itching around the anal area

Larva Migrans Syndrome

Larva migrans syndrome occurs when larvae migrate through the skin due to a species of hookworm called Ancylostoma. These hookworms are parasites that spend part of their life in the intestines of dogs and cats, while another stage lives in human skin. The eggs of hookworms are expelled in the feces of cats and dogs, and they develop into larvae when exposed to moist soil or sand. These larvae can penetrate the skin when an individual walks barefoot on contaminated soil or sand.

Typically, signs of skin migration syndrome include:

  • A raised, reddish rash beneath the skin, which subsequently turns brown, assumes a zigzag pattern, and causes itching.
  • The affected area may expand over time, forming a red, swollen, and edematous wound.
  • In some instances, blisters may form, gradually scabbing over.
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In such cases, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide guidance on deworming procedures while ensuring the safety of both the mother and the baby during breastfeeding.

Safe Deworming Options for Nursing Mothers

Typically, healthcare professionals recommend deworming for nursing mothers using convenient and effective medications. Below are three types of dewormers that are considered safe for nursing mothers. Please consult with your healthcare provider for guidance.

Mebendazole (Vermox):

How to Use: Typically, you take a single dose of Mebendazole, and it may be repeated after two weeks if necessary. The tablets can be chewed or swallowed whole with water, and they are often taken with or without food.

Albendazole (Albenza):

How to Use: Albendazole is usually taken as a single dose with a full glass of water during a meal. It may be repeated after two weeks if needed.

Pyrantel Pamoate (Antiminth, Pin-X):

How to Use: Pyrantel Pamoate is taken as a single dose and is usually repeated after two weeks. You can take it with or without food, but it’s typically more effective when taken on an empty stomach.

Levamisole (Ergamisol):

How to Use: Levamisole is often taken in multiple doses over several days. The dosage and duration will depend on the type of worm infection being treated. It’s essential to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

Praziquantel (Biltricide):

How to Use: The dosage of Praziquantel varies depending on the specific type of worm infection. It’s usually taken as a single dose with a meal. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for the correct dosage and timing.

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Educating Mothers on Preventing Helminth Infections

Helminth infections can easily enter the body through daily activities and food consumption. Following the Ministry of Health’s recommendations, here are some preventive measures to reduce the risk of helminth infections:

  • Thorough Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands meticulously with soap before meals and after using the toilet.
  • Maintain Cleanliness: Keep your hands clean, trim your nails neatly, and avoid contact with bacteria.
  • Safe Food Practices: Ensure that you consume thoroughly cooked food and hot beverages. Avoid eating undercooked, rare, or raw vegetables.
  • Hygienic Practices: Avoid direct contact with dirty surfaces or areas. Consider wearing gloves to maintain hygiene.

In conclusion, the question of whether breastfeeding mothers can be dewormed depends on the specific situation. Periodic deworming is generally not necessary. However, if there is a confirmed helminth infection that poses a health risk, deworming should be considered. Always consult a healthcare professional before using deworming medications to ensure safety for both mother and baby.

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