Pinworms are intestinal infections in kids. It is caused by small parasitic worms. It is a very common infection in school-going children. If your child is infected by pinworms, then there is nothing to worry. They do not normally cause any long-term harm. The problems also do not sustain for a long period. With proper treatment and care your child can get rid of the pinworms in few days.
What are Pinworms?
Pinworms are narrow and tiny worms. It is a very common type of intestinal infection in human beings. They are normally white in color. Pinworm infections are most common among children within the age of 5 and 10 years.
Medication is one of the most effective treatments of pinworms. Medication through reinfection is effective. However, very rarely the infection turns out to be serious and causes any serious harm to health.
Causes of Pinworm
Pinworms are highly contagious can spread very easily. Pinworms can enter your child’s body with food he/she eats or the air he/she breathes. The microscopic eggs are impossible to be detected, with naked eyes and it enters and spreads in your child’s body.
There are many possibilities via which pinworms can spread in your child’s system. The following is the possible list of materials from which pinworm spreads:
- Linens of bed
- Regularly used towels
- Used clothing (especially undergarments)
- Unclean toilets
- Bathroom fixtures
- Open foods
- Used drinking glass
- Any kind of eating utensil, used by others
- Toys used by children who are already infested
- Kitchen counters
- Shared desks and lunch tables in day care or school
Sounds exhausting, right? So, practically the chances of your child getting infected are more. The tiny eggs pass into your child’s digestive system. Then they hatch in their small intestine. From there onwards they travel to the large intestine. There they dwell as parasites.
In about one or two months’ time, the female pinworms will travel from the large intestine to the rectum. There they will lay more eggs. This initiates the itching desire around the anus of your child.
As your child scratches his/her anus, microscopic eggs get transferred to the fingers. In this way further contamination and spread of the pinworms. Sometimes they are absorbed again in their body. Sometimes they get spread to some other host (in the form of another child).
Animals are not cause of pinworms. So, your pet cannot be a suspected transmitter. In most occasions the child gets infected when he/she is in the school or the daycare.
Signs & Symptoms of Pinworms in Children:
For a long time pinworms, in your children, remain undetected. He/she might not notice any kind of symptoms. Most of the occasions, the symptoms are noticeable when the infection has already spread to a great extent. These are the basic symptoms of pinworm in children:
- Frequent scratching of the anal area
- Sleepless nights mostly due to itching in the anal area
- Suffering from pain around the anus
- Rashes around the anus
- Visible pinworms around the anus of your child
- Visible pinworms in your child’s stool
Normally the symptoms are in the order mentioned above. So, if you find your child scratching his/her anus, then you can undergo medication and deworming session, in order to eradicate any kind of further complications.
Is your Child at Risk?
Each year, about a million children suffer from pinworms. So, it is possible that your child is also at the risk of any sort of contamination. If your child falls under any of the below mentioned categories, then he/she is definitely at risk of being contaminated by pinworms:
- If your child spends a lot of time at school or stays in the daycare
- Any of the family members or the caregivers are contaminated with pinworms
- If your apartment is in a crowded locality.
- If you are not maintaining basic hygiene like washing of hands and feet, after returning home from work.
- Your child is still in the habit of sucking thumbs.
It is true that there is nothing much to worry. Pinworms are completely treatable and they do not pose long-term threats. However, you should make sure that the contaminations do not repeat frequently as it might harm your child’s intestine.
How can Pinworms be diagnosed?
If you see early signs infestations then you should get your child diagnosed. You can perform a tape test to detect the infection. A tape test is very easy. You can take a piece of cellophane tape and you stick it on the anus of your child. Pinworms often exist around the anus of the child. So, you can stick a tape whilst he/she sleeps.
You can remove the tape during morning and take it to your doctor. The doctor can examine whether the tape has eggs or not. Tape test is mostly accurate. This is due to the fact that routine morning activities might wash the eggs from your child’s body.
So, tape tests should be performed when he/she is sleeping. According to United State’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tape tests should be performed at least thrice to determine whether or not there are pinworms present in your child’s system.
Treatment Options for Pinworms:
Oral medication is mostly effective for the treatment of pinworms. It is usually advised that including the parents and the caregivers undergo oral medication to reduce the chances of re-infection of your child. Providing treatment to everyone makes sure that the disease will not spread much.
The most effective medications of pinworm are:
- albendazole (Albenza)
- pyrantel pamoate
Like any deworming activity, the initial dosage is followed by a second dose, to be given after three weeks. This will help in the elimination of all the eggs. Ointments and creams can be given it the areas of itching, to provide comfort.
How to de-worm your House from Pinworms:
These are the few steps you can take to ensure that your home is fully free of pinworms:
- Initiate the practice of hand-washing for every person in the house
- Encourage every person to change their undergarments, every day
- Clean your child’s fingernails and make them short
- Make your child get rid of nail biting habits
- Tell your child stop scratching the anus
- Use hot water to wash the bedding, towels and also clothing. Dry the clothes well before reuse.
- Avoid shaking your clothing in order to prevent the spreading of the eggs.
- Thoroughly clean the surface including the toys, the toilet seats, the floors, the kitchen
- Vacuum the carpets well.