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Health Information For Parents
A stool (feces) sample can provide valuable information about problems in the stomach, intestines, rectum, or other parts of the gastrointestinal (GI) system.
In an ova and parasites (O&P) exam, a technician views a sample of stool under a microscope to look for parasites and their ova (eggs) or cysts, which are hard shells that protect some parasites at a certain stage in their lifecycle.
A doctor may request an O&P exam if your child has symptoms of a possible parasitic infection, such as diarrhea for an extended period of time, blood or mucus in the stool, abdominal pain, nausea, headaches, or fever, especially if there’s been an outbreak of parasitic illness at your child’s school or daycare center, your child recently drank untreated water, or if your family recently visited a developing country.
Unlike most other lab tests, a stool sample is often collected by parents at home, not by health care professionals at a hospital or clinic.
If possible, your child may be asked to avoid certain foods and treatments for 2 weeks before the test, including:
The doctor or hospital laboratory will usually provide written instructions on how to collect a stool sample. If instructions aren’t provided, here are tips for collecting a stool sample from your child:
When the sample arrives at the laboratory, a technician stains some of the stool specimen with a special dye and views it under a microscope to identify parasites or ova that are present.
In general, the result of the ova and parasites test are reported within 2 days.
No risks are associated with collecting stool samples.
Collecting a stool sample is painless. Tell your child that collecting the stool won’t hurt, but it has to be done carefully. A child who’s old enough might be able to collect the sample alone to avoid embarrassment. Tell your child how to do this properly.
If you have questions about the ova and parasites test, speak with your doctor.
Amebiasis is an intestinalÂ illness transmitted when someone eats or drinks something that’s contaminated with a microscopic parasite.
Toxocara are common parasites of dogs and cats. When they infect humans, the illness is called toxocariasis.
This test may be done if a child has watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, large amounts of intestinal gas, appetite loss, and nausea or vomiting.
Your child’s doctor may order a stool collection test to check for blood, bacteria, ova, or parasites. Find out how this test is performed and when you can expect the results.
Ascariasis is an intestinal infection that occurs when the eggs of a parasitic roundworm are ingested. Read about signs and symptoms, treatment, and tips for prevention.
Giardiasis, one of the chief causes of diarrhea in the United States, is an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite.
Pinworm is an intestinal infection caused by tiny parasitic worms. But pinworms don’t cause any harm (just itching), and it won’t take long to get rid of them.
Most kids battle diarrhea from time to time, so it’s importantÂ to know what to do to relieve and even prevent it.
It’s gross to think about but did you know that tiny worm eggs could be under your fingernails? Learn more about how to protect yourself from getting pinworms.
Tapeworms are usually more upsetting to think about than to deal with. Tapeworm infections are rare in the United States, and they’re usually easy to treat.
You know they can hurt you, but what are these invisible creatures? Find out in this article for kids.
Germs are tiny organisms that can cause disease – and they’re so small that they can creep into your system without you noticing. Find out how to protect yourself.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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