How to Treat Pinworms in Children

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When treating pinworms in children, usually the entire family needs to be treated, as well. Find out if your child has pinworms with help from a doctor in this free video on child health treatments.

Part of the Video Series: How to Treat Various Child Ailments
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Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today, we're going to be talking about how to treat pinworms in children. To treat pinworms, first you have to know that they're there. Fortunately, this is usually pretty straightforward, if a little bit gross. Pinworms usually present with itching, around the anus. In girls, there may also be vaginal itching, and sometimes, vaginal itching is the only symptom of pinworms. Pinworms like to do their work at night, and so it's not uncommon to have a child who's having a tough time sleeping because of discomfort and itching associated with pinworms. If you suspect pinworms in your child, sneak into the room at night after he or she is asleep, and actually pull down the underwear and look around the rectum. You're very likely to see the tiny little white worms that are the pinworms. If we want a laboratory confirmation for pin worms, and sometimes we do, you can actually take a little tongue depressor or other paddle, or just a piece of cellophane tape, and take that tape and just actually put it right there over the anus. Lift it back up, and put it down on a clear glass slide. You can then look at that tape under a microscope and see the pinworms there. Treating pinworms, once you know that they're around, usually requires treating the entire family. While the child may be the symptomatic member of the family, chances are good, unfortunately, that other family members are also harboring the parasite. So usually, when we treat a child, we treat everybody in the household. Now, when you treat the pinworms, there may be eggs still in the child's intestine that have not hatched, and allow the pinworms to reemerge about two weeks later. So usually, we treat pinworms with one dose of medication at the time that we make the diagnosis, and then we give a second dose of medication fourteen days later to treat any of the worms that may have hatched. This fully interrupts the life cycle of the pinworm, and usually, after that, if they come back it's because of a recontamination with pinworms. How do children get pinworms? Hands. They play around in the dirt where pinworm eggs or pinworms may be living. They put the stuff in their mouth, and voila; they get worms. The good news is that as gross as it is and as irritating as it is, pinworms are almost never a dangerous infection, so you don't want to freak out about them but you do want to take care of them. Talking about treating pinworms in children, I am Dr. David Hill.

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