PINWORMS

Pinworms (Enterobius vermicularis) are tiny, threadlike, white roundworm that infects the intestines. They can cause itchiness around the anus and vagina.

Pinworms are highly contagious for you may directly expose yourself to these eggs by scratching the contaminated area and then putting your fingers in your mouth. Microscopic eggs can attach to many different surface including toys, bedding, clothing, towels, toilet seats, sandboxes, food, drinking glasses, and utensils. They can survive there for 2 to 3 weeks if the surfaces aren’t cleaned. They can also scattered into the air and inhaled.

The presence of pinworms in the body doesn’t have symptoms. Itchiness will began when pinworms started laying eggs. Hence, it is the most common symptom of a pinworm infection. The itchiness can be intense that it may disrupt sleep, cause irritability and leads to a bacterial infection.

Rare symptoms may include:

  • Urinary Tract Infection- if the nematodes spread to the vaginal area.
  • Appendicitis-like Symptoms- If they reach the appendix, they may exhibit symptoms like vomiting, abdominal pain, and reduced appetite. But it doesn’t cause any actual inflammation of the appendix.

TREATMENT

Antiparasitic medications will treat pinworms. These are taken in two doses spread 2 weeks apart. The second dose kills eggs that may have hatched since the first dose.

Antiparasitic medications may include:

  • Mebendazole
  • Albendazole
  • Pyrantel Pamoate- is available without a prescription, but it’s not as effective as the other two medications. It is according to the CDC.

All people within the household must be treated for pinworms. It is because there is a great chance that they are already infected but not showing any symptoms.

 

PREVENTION

Good hygiene and proper care can help prevent the spread of pinworms and re-infection. Helpful steps include:

  • Frequently cleaning toilets.
  • Showering every morning.
  • Carefully handling underclothing, night clothes, towels, and bedding and always washing them.
  • Avoiding scratching the perianal area.
  • Keeping your fingernails short. Do not bite them.
  • Washing your hands appropriately and regularly, especially before and after eating and after going to the bathroom

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