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Leaving you squirming

Thread worms Pin worms or lombrices

This is another common childhood infestation in children aged under ten. Thread or Pinworms are 1cm long tiny white threadlike parasitic worms that live in our intestines and are passed on very easily. They come out of our intestine to lay their eggs around the anus or vagina.

We may see them in our children’s stool or on their bed clothes, we may find that their sleep is disturbed or they complain of itching (caused by a mucous the worms produce) in this region at night as the eggs hatch. Sometimes they cause bedwetting and also weight loss. They are passed on through contact with the eggs, usually on hands.

Children tend to get into a cycle of scratching, not washing hands and re-ingesting if not treated. We too may catch them as the eggs transfer to surfaces and clothing and onto our hands: these eggs can live two weeks away from a body. The good news is it is easily treated with a one or two doses of “Mebendazole” which you can buy at the pharmacy without prescription.

To prevent a re-infestation, you also must wash, at high temperatures, clothing, bed linen and towels and keep a strict cleaning routine of bathrooms, floors and kitchens. It is advisable to treat not only the affected person but the whole family (seek advice about very young children and pregnant women) as it is likely they will have been passed around! It is also important to tell the school so they can pass the information to other parents to check it has not been passed on a school. As it is passed through hygiene it is important to instil good hand washing in children and also advisable to cut their nails to a short length as long nails are harder to keep clean and harbour many bugs. Schools too should maintain good hand washing routines in school hours. 

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