How to Recognize Symptoms of Pinworms

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Pinworms are a common parasitic infection among children, but occasionally, they are discovered in adults. While pinworms are not particularly serious, you do want to eradicate them quickly in order to prevent spreading the infection, as well as obtaining prompt relief for those diagnosed with them. Pinworm infections are commonly spread by children attending school, daycare facilities and camps. Caused by small worms between 1/4 and 1/2 inch in length, pinworms like to live in the intestinal tract, in the rectum, anus and on the skin surrounding the anus. Pinworms can be quite contagious, so it is important to learn how to recognize symptoms of pinworms.

  • Watch for signs that your child may be frustrated by intense itching around the anus. This skin irritation seems to be worse at night and may cause disrupted sleep or bouts of crying in small children or toddlers. Children will itch their anus so hard sometimes that the area around it grows red and irritated.

  • Listen to any complaints that your child offers of crawling or pieces of thread in his stools. Often, pinworms can be seen by the naked eye. They look like small pieces of yellow or white thread in or on the stool, or on the skin surrounding the anus.

  • Examine your child's anal area and look for signs of egg sacs around the anus. These eggs are easily transferred from child to child or other members of the family via fingernails and poor hygiene. If you see signs of pinworms, cut your child's fingernails short in order to prevent them from being carried from hand to hand.

  • Carefully examine little girls in order to make sure pinworms have not migrated into the girl's private area, which may appear red and irritated.

  • Watch to make sure your child is clean and bathed on a daily basis, which will help to prevent the spread or infection caused by pinworms.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wash all bedding, clothing and pajamas of the infected person, and seek the help of your pediatrician or family doctor. He will prescribe a medication that will kill the pinworms in about 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Prevent spreading infection by practicing good hygiene and encouraging children to wash hands several times a day, especially before mealtimes.
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