Are Worms Found In Shower Tapeworms, Flea Larvae, or Something Else?

A reader recently sent us this message, “Today during my shower I found these worms when I washed my hair and other personal parts. My head has been very itchy and I have also seen some worms. My small dog also has worm problems. He has had fleas and tapeworms, so I am curious if this is the same thing?” She sent us two photos of the mysterious specimen she found:

The creature is a golden brown color and has a smooth body. We aren’t sure about its size since the hair and netting in the photo don’t serve as a reliable scale. Although we don’t know what this creature is, we are confident that it isn’t a flea larva or a tapeworm. Flea larvae are minuscule organisms that usually measure to about 1/10 of an inch long. Their appearance changes as they mature: after hatching they are semi-transparent white, but as they eat and mature they turn a dark red or brown color. In other words, they don’t look anything like the golden worm-like organism our reader found. The creature in question is also not a tapeworm. Tapeworms have long, white, segmented bodies when they are living inside a host. When it leaves the host, the tapeworm breaks off into a small segment that looks like a grain of rice. What our reader found looks nothing like a grain of rice:

Despite being able to eliminate the possibility of this being either of the two specimens our reader was concerned with, we still can’t offer her answers as far as what she found in her hair and what is causing her scalp to itch. Since we aren’t medical professionals, we aren’t licensed to give medical advice. We encourage our reader to make an appointment with a doctor and to bring these photos or samples of the creature if possible. We hope our reader is able to find answers and return to good health.

In conclusion, a reader reached out to us about a golden worm she found in her hair while showering. Although we are sure the organism isn’t a tapeworm or flea larva as she feared, we don’t know what it is. We recommend that she see a doctor about this worm and her discomfort. If she has seen a doctor and isn’t satisfied with the information she has received, she might look into making an appointment with a travel infectious disease doctor. To locate one she can do an Internet search for “travel infectious disease specialist [her location or nearest big city.]”

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Are Worms Found In Shower Tapeworms, Flea Larvae, or Something Else?
Article Name
Are Worms Found In Shower Tapeworms, Flea Larvae, or Something Else?
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A reader reached out to us about a golden worm she found in her hair while showering. Although we are sure the organism isn't a tapeworm or flea larva as she feared, we don't know what it is.
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