The pinworm is a tiny parasitic worm that lives in the large intestines and comes out at night to lay its eggs around the anus. Pinworms are sometimes called thread worms or seat worms.
As many as forty-two million Americans have pinworms and most of those infected are children - one out of every five children between the ages of five and fourteen.
Infections commonly develop in areas where the weather is warm - even when there is good sanitation. Crowded living conditions promotes the spread of worms from one family member to another. Outbreaks may happen at schools or day cares.
Pinworms multiply in three ways:
- the female lays eggs just outside the anus every night;
- the eggs can be transferred by the fingers to the mouth, swallowed and then hatched to cause more pinworms; and sometimes
- pinworms can spread to other parts of the urinary or reproductive systems.
Symptoms of pinworms include:
tickling or itching in the anal area, often at night;
restless sleep caused by the itching and scratching; and in young girls, a vaginal discharge, frequent and painful urination,
vaginal itching and irritation, or ulceration, may mean that pinworm infection has spread to the genital organs and bladder.
on a two year old girl
Once hatched it takes two to six weeks for the worms to reach maturity.
You can check for pinworms at home using a simple procedure that requires only a flashlight.
Using the flashlight, look around the anus and vagina for the presence of the worms themselves which look like tiny, white-collared threads about one-quarter inch long. The worms may be visible several hours after the child goes to bed or first thing in the morning.
If these parasites are present, they are almost impossible to get rid
of without treatment with anti-worm medication such as Vitaklenz
The best way to prevent parasitic infection is to:
Have good personal hygiene, particularly washing hands and fingernails before meals and after using the toilet;
Bathe daily; and treat the entire family if one member is diagnosed.
If worms are present, discomfort and spread may be reduced by:
pyjamas at night to discourage scratching,
Keeping fingernails short or wearing gloves,
Discouraging nail biting,
Changing sheets and nightwear daily, and
Washing them at normal temperatures with laundry detergent to kill any worms and eggs.
PINWORMS AND YOUR CHILD
Infections are common in families with small children. If your child has worms, you may notice them moving around a lot in bed at night or being unable to sleep because of an itchy bottom. The itching is caused by a female worm that comes out of the rectum to lay eggs around the anus . Sometimes tiny worms (shorter than 1/2 inch) may be seen on the child's bottom at night or they may show up in the child's bowel movement.
Pinworms are easy to get and usually spread from child to child. The eggs can be picked up on fingers when they are playing. If the eggs are on their hands or toys, and they put their fingers or toys in their mouth, the tiny eggs can enter their bodies. The eggs are very small and can only be seen with a microscope. The eggs stay in the upper part of the intestine until they hatch. After they hatch, the worms move down the length of the intestine, trying to get out to lay eggs. When the children scratch their itchy bottoms, the eggs can get under their fingernails. As the children move around the house, the eggs may be spread, and other family members may become infected. Sometimes adults breathe in the eggs when the bed covers are shaken. Children easily infect each other while they are playing.
Because pinworms usually crawl out of the anus while a child sleeps, the tape test is an easy way to find worms. To do the tape test, use a tongue depressor (or similar) with a piece of clear tape on it. You will press the end of the tongue depressor--with the tape on it--against your child's anal skin. Then the tape is placed sticky-side down on a glass slide. It is best to do this test right after your child wakes up in the morning, before moving around or washing. If your child has pinworms, you will be able to see the eggs with a microscope.
Fortunately, most pinworm infections are mild and easily treated with Vitaklenz but the treatment must be used for the full course to be effective.
Even if only one child in a family has pinworms, it is very important that everyone in the household be treated with the pinworm medicine at the same time, even if they don't have any signs of pinworms. All the sheets, blankets, towels and clothing in the house should be washed in hot water, and everyone's fingernails (which might hold the worm eggs) should be carefully cleaned and cut short.
If you get treatment from Vitaklenz right away and keep everything in the house very clean, your family's encounter with pinworms will soon be over.