Pinworms are tiny parasitic worms that live in your large intestine. While they do not pose a significant health problem, they are a nuisance. Symptoms include anal itching, sleeplessness, irritability, and anal irritation due to scratching.
Assess whether you or your child have pinworms. The simplest method is to place a piece of cellophane tape against the anus. Do this first thing in the morning, before bathing or having a bowel movement. The eggs and sometimes a worm will get stuck to the tape. Then they can be brought to your doctor for a diagnosis.
Treat the pinworms once they're diagnosed. Many safe and effective medications are available, both over the counter and by prescription. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a recommendation.
Treat all family members, whether they have symptoms or not. Pinworms are very easily transmitted.
Curing pinworms is easy, but reinfestation is very common. Take precautions to keep this from happening.
Discourage children from scratching the anal area. Dressing small children in a one-piece sleeper or pajamas is one way of doing this. The eggs are often spread from hand to mouth, so will this help prevent reinfestation.
Wash your hands thoroughly every time you use the bathroom and before meals or touching food; instruct your children to do the same.
Keep your nails short. This will prevent eggs from getting underneath them.
Don't bite your nails, and discourage your children from doing so.
Launder sheets, bedding and towels in hot water. The eggs can live for up to two weeks outside of a human host.
Clean and disinfect bathroom surfaces. Wash bathroom cups, toothpaste tubes and other bathroom objects.
Vacuum thoroughly. Wash and clean toys and stuffed animals.
The eggs are extremely sticky, so it is important to thoroughly clean all surfaces that you or your child have touched. Proper hand washing is one of the most effective and simplest methods of preventing the spread or reinfestation of pinworms.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.