Friday, November 20, 2009

FYI: Pinworms

For all you parents out who, like me, had no experience with parasites. I present to you the infamous PINWORM:This is probably the most common human parasite, especially among small children. They are tiny little worms that live in the digestive tract.

About a month or two after infection, they come to maturity and you may start to see symptoms. This basically consists of intense itching of the anus, particularly at bedtime. Irritation can develop into a bacterial infection. It starts when the fully grown female worms (pictured above) crawl out at night and lay eggs on the skin. The eggs are then spread from the hands, clothing, bedding, etc. of infected persons. They can even become airborn. The eggs can survive up to about 2 weeks outside a host. After ingesting the eggs, the child may become reinfected, or infect others (particularly those they come in close contact with at home or at school).

Diagnosis is made by seeing a pinworm, or eggs collected on scotch tape (viewed under a microscope). Although thoroughly disgusting, they are not considered a serious infection since they do not cause any other problems besides itching. The itching can keep your child up at night. Fortunately, they are easy to treat. One pill will kill the worms (some doctors will treat twice, a second dose 2 weeks after the first).

Then you have to wash everything regularly to get rid of the eggs:
- daily laundering clothing, bedding, and towels in hot water
- wash toilet seats twice a day
- at treatment, thoroughly clean rugs, floors, furniture
- shower child first thing each morning
- keep child's fingernails short and clean
- do not share towels, sheets, etc.
- enforce rigorous hygiene!

You can learn more about pinworms here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although pinworms truly are disgusting--they at least made my 5 year old stop sucking her thumb!