Pinworms

​Pinworms are common in small children. They are short (less than one centimetre) and white, thin nematode worms which live in the gastrointestinal tract and lay eggs near the anus. Eggs are easily spread from hands, toys, bedding and toilets through the mouth or nose to the gastrointestinal tract. The eggs are very persistent and can live for several weeks at room temperature on bedding, for example.

Symptoms

 

  • itching around the anus
  • a rash on the buttocks
  • pinworms may be visible in stools

 

Itching may start as long as 1 to 2 months after the infection. To determine the presence of pinworms, stools are investigated or a swab sample collected from the area surrounding the anus, if necessary.

Treatment

 

Pinworms can be treated with pyrvinium which is available on your local pharmacy without prescription. All family members must be treated at the same time and bedding, towels and underwear should be changed. To prevent further infections, take care of good hand and toilet hygiene and keep your fingernails short and clean. Take a second dose of medication after two weeks. Pyrvinium may cause the stools and urine to turn red, but this is not dangerous and will pass in a couple of days. Pinworms are not transmitted to pets, and worms in pets cannot be transmitted to humans.