White worms with black heads have been infecting this reader and her family for almost a year, and she has reached out to us for help identifying the worms. She reports that these worms “as thin as a hair” have affected her family, friend and dog.
To start off with, we wish to give a quick warning to our readers that this article contains some images which may be of a sensitive nature to some, as they show marks on the body, such as entrance wounds created by the parasite. Secondly, we have to address the unfortunate fact that we will not be able to identify this worm for our reader. This is because this situation is clearly medical in nature, and we are not medical professionals. Thus, giving an identification would be tantamount to providing a diagnosis. For that reason, we recommend our reader consult a medical professional in order to receive a diagnosis and treatment. Our reader has mentioned that she already went to the doctor and took a sample of the worm with her but that she was told that they could not identify the worm, but that the issue was probably “nothing” to which our reader got upset. This is an unfortunate situation that we have come across before, where people infected with parasitic worms will be turned away by their doctor. The thing is, most doctors and general physicians will not have received any training in this area, and are thus incapable of helping their patients. It is sad that so many doctors are not willing to admit this though, and turn away patients in need of treatment, instead of redirecting them to someone who can help.
This is an area in which we can help. Instead of going to one’s regular doctor, when one has cause to believe they have been infected with a parasite, it might be a good idea to consult a specialist. Doing a simple Google search for ‘infectious disease physician (name of closest big city)’ or ‘travel disease doctor (name of closest big city)’ can lead one to finding someone who is far more able to aid with these kinds of issues. We urge our reader to do this, as she is far more likely to get real treatment for herself and her loved ones. Likewise, if our reader wants to increase her chances of getting an accurate identification once she consults a specialist, or simply wants to get more than one opinion, she can also take samples of the worms to her local county extension office or entomology department at a nearby university in order for it to get identified there. Of course, these places will not offer treatment or prescriptions, but it might be helpful to get an array of opinions on the worms’ identities.
We think it is also important that we summarize the context our reader gave us, because although we do not know what these worms are, it might help any of our other readers in the case that they have been experiencing something similar. That way, you guys will know whether or not you might consider also consulting a parasite specialist. According to our reader, her family has been dealing with these worms since August of last year. She even remembers specifically the time and day it first happened, “a Friday morning around 6 a.m.” Her friend had found a “little blackish-brown spot” on her arm which was moving (as exhibited by the pictures above). Our reader thought it looked like the head of a flea but smaller. Once she pulled it out of her friend’s arm, they noticed it was a white worm with a black head which was “as thin as a hair.” The worm broke in two upon trying to pull it out, but upon trying to pull out the other half, she noticed another worm, and states that “it looked like the worm was two worms wrapped around each other”.
As stated, they went to a doctor with the worm and were turned away. A week later, her friend began “breaking out in [purple ] bumps on her arm” and swelling occurred as well. They went to the doctor again, and were turned away a second time. Then, our reader herself noticed these same black dots on herself, and hence discovered the same worms in herself. She then started noticing them in her dog as well. Naturally, she started worrying about what this may be, not trusting her doctor’s advice that it was “nothing”, which is a reasonable mindset to have. Her symptoms include: swelling, burning sensations, itching, tingling in fingers and toes, and the sensation of something moving underneath her skin. She adds that when she gets in hot water, her skin appears to bruise. This whole ordeal has taken a toll on her “mental health and happiness” and that is why she has reached out to us.
In response to her context, we also urge our reader to take her dog to a vet for it to get treated, as having a parasite infection is not pleasant for any creature of any species. If by circumstance, she ends up taking her dog to her vet first, and the vet identifies the worm, then our reader will also get another professional opinion on the worm’s identification which she could bring to the parasite specialist once she has her consultation with them.
To conclude, we sympathize for our reader and her family. We understand how this would negatively affect her mental health, and although we can not provide all of the answers, we hope that this article nonetheless helped steer her in the right direction toward the help she can get from qualified professionals. Likewise, we hope that she does get this treated as soon as possible, so she can put her mind at ease.