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Loeffler's syndrome is a condition characterized by a large amount of eosinophils in the lung that is usually caused by parasitic infections, mainly by the parasite Ascaris lumbricoides, and may also be caused by an allergic reaction to certain medications, by cancer or by a hypersensitivity to something that has been inhaled or ingested, for example.
This syndrome usually causes no symptoms, but there may be a dry cough and progressive shortness of breath, as excess eosinophils in the lung can cause organ damage.
Treatment varies according to the cause.
Symptoms of Loeffler Syndrome appear between 10 and 15 days after infection and usually disappear 1 to 2 weeks after starting treatment. This syndrome is usually asymptomatic, but some symptoms may appear, such as:
- Dry or productive cough;
- Shortness of breath, which gets progressively worse;
- Low fever;
- Cough with blood;
- Wheezing or wheezing;
- Muscle pain;
- Weight Loss.
This syndrome is mainly caused by infection with parasites that carry out part of the biological cycle in the lungs, such as Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale, which cause hookworm, Strongyloides stercoralis, which causes strongyloidiasis, and Ascaris lumbricoides, which causes is the infectious agent of ascariasis and the main responsible for Loeffler syndrome.
In addition to parasitosis, Loeffler syndrome can arise as a consequence of neoplasms or hypersensitivity reaction to drugs, for example, which can lead to an increase in eosinophils in the blood that travel to the lung and secrete cytokines that cause lung damage. Learn more about eosinophils and their functions.
How the diagnosis is made
The diagnosis of Loeffler syndrome is made through clinical evaluation by the physician and chest X-ray, in which pulmonary infiltrate is observed. In addition, a blood count is requested, in which more than 500 eosinophils/mm³ are verified, which can correspond to between 25 and 30% of eosinophils of total leukocytes, when normal is between 1 and 5%.
The parasitological examination of feces is only positive about 8 weeks after infection, since before that the parasite is still developing and is not in the larval form, with no eggs being released.When positive, numerous eggs of the parasite causing the syndrome are verified.
How is the treatment
Treatment is based on the cause, that is, if Loeffler syndrome is caused by a reaction to a medication, treatment usually consists of stopping the medication.
In the case of parasitic diseases, the use of anti-parasitics is recommended in order to eliminate the parasite and avoid some late manifestations of the disease caused by the parasite, such as diarrhea, malnutrition and intestinal obstruction. Medications normally indicated are vermifuges such as Albendazole, Praziquantel or Ivermectin, for example, according to the parasite that causes Loeffler's syndrome and with medical advice. See what are the main remedies for worms and how to take them.
In addition to treatment with anti-parasitic drugs, it is important, in these cases, to pay attention to hygiene conditions, since parasites are usually related to precarious sanitary conditions.That's why it's important to wash your hands frequently, keep your nails trimmed, and wash your food before preparing it.