I swear, this blog will not continue to be about the gross and the difficult things. Just to reiterate, I do truly love it here. However, I keep getting reminded of things expats need to know that don’t seem to be getting passed along to them through the pipeline.
I have seen estimates that as many as one in four people here have parasitic worms. You may always wear your shoes inside and leave them at the door. You may be super diligent about washing your hands after using the restroom. And you still run the risk of infection.
Shaking hands with someone who didn’t wash can transfer eggs to your hands. Eating in a restaurant where the cook didn’t properly wash can get them in your food. Likewise, having your food prepared by a househelper who is infected can pass it along to you.
At the pharmacy or in a supermarket’s health and beauty aisles, you will find Mebednazole. I see it most often in a chewable tablet form, but sometimes it is a small vial of liquid. It’s a few dollars for each dose. Get a dose for every member of your family and household staff, and take it once every 6 months.
We have had house hold staff in the past who have been very resistant to taking it. Have them take it in your presence, and check that it’s been chewed and swallowed. Make sure they didn’t just palm the pill, as my driver once tried to do.
We had one helper who really fought with us before she agreed to take it. I think she was afraid any worms that she had would come out through “nontraditional” routes. But a few days later, she approached my husband and thanked him for making her take it, because she did, indeed, pass a mass of worms and had no idea that she’d been infected.
She was cooking our meals.
So, I’m not kidding around about this. If you don’t want to take my word for it, take it up with a doctor. Between doses, keep an eye on your poop. Any signs of worms–white dashes, vermicelli looking strands, WORMS–you need to take another dose before your next scheduled dose, and you may want to consider consulting with a physician as well to make sure that there isn’t something else you should be doing.