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Helminthic infection, not eating iron rich diets main reasons of anemia among children: Doctors

 Helminthic infection, not eating iron rich diets main reasons of anemia among children: Doctors

Advises deworming after regular intervals

Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Dec 19 (KNO): Helminthic infections and not eating a balanced or iron rich diet are the main reasons behind the increasing prevalence of anemia among children.

Several doctors who spoke to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that regular deworming is very important for both kids and adults and can be taken in any season.

Dr Rakshanda posted at SDH Sopore told KNO that the main reason behind increasing prevalence of anemia in children is helminthic infection.

She said that intestinal helminth infection in a concomitant state of malnutrition is observed among children.

“Helminthic infections, caused by parasitic worms, can contribute to anemia through various mechanisms. These parasites can affect the host's nutritional status, impair iron absorption, and induce chronic inflammation, all of which play crucial roles in the development of anemia,” she said.

Dr Shugufta another doctor posted at SDH Yaripora told KNO that helminthic infections are parasitic infections caused by helminths, which are a group of multicellular worms and may lead to nutrient competition, impaired iron absorption, blood loss, inflammation response and other issues.

She said that there is a misconception that deworming can't be done in winters but it can be given any season at regular intervals but most of the children aren't being given it that also leads to anemia.

“Deworming helps to remove worms and any infection that might disturb the patient and it is important for those infected by these worms,” she added.

Doctors said that diet plays a crucial role in the prevalence of anemia among children as insufficient dietary iron is a primary cause of anemia.

They said adequate intake of vitamin B12 and folate, nutrient-rich foods, breastfeeding and complementary foods, dietary diversity, hygiene and food safety are main things that play a role in preventing anemia among children.

Doctors told KNO that children who have worms always feel tired because of malnutrition and anemia while they can have impaired physical and cognitive development.

They said that there is no need to panic as worm infection is easy to control but parents must keep vigil on their children and monitor their growth and other behavior as well.

They said untreated worm infections prevent children's healthy growth, cause poor nutrition and reduce their capacity to concentrate and learn.

“The treatment is simple, safe, effective and free of charge. A single dose of deworming treatment drastically reduces the number of worms in each child,” they said.

Worm infections can cause various health problems, including anemia, abdominal distention (swelling) or severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea, etc. It can also cause loss of appetite, malnourishment, impaired mental and physical development as well as tissue damage that may require corrective surgery,” doctors said.

“Deworming improves your child's immunity, and thereby protecting him/her from chronic illnesses caused by worms, improves concentration and attendance, making them more productive in school, increases nutrient uptake and controls infections such as anemia, loose bowels, improves work potential and livelihood opportunity and can help in reduction of worm infection in the community,” they said.

Notably, as per NFHS-5, about three-fourths (73%) of children aged 6-59 months are anaemic. This includes 25 percent who are mildly anaemic, 44 percent who are moderately anaemic, and 4 percent who have severe anaemia.

“The overall prevalence of anemia in children increased from 43 percent in NFHS-4 to 73 percent in NFHS-5. There is a slight difference in the prevalence of anaemia among girls (71%) and boys (71%) in NFHS-5,” it said.

Children born to mothers with anaemia are much more likely to be anaemic. Although anaemia levels vary somewhat according to background characteristics, anaemia among children is widespread in every group.

As per NFHS-5 three-fourths (74%) of children in Jammu & Kashmir are anaemic even if their mother has 12 or more years of schooling—(KNO)

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