Last Updated on 12th June 2019 by Dr Shivangi

You all have seen them!

Those tiny, white-coloured creatures peeping out of your child’s bum hole or in his poop! Yes, they are the pinworms.

Pinworms are one of the culprits for itchy bumholes in your child. And the moment you notice them, you go apprehensive of how to get rid of them.

pinworms
Image: wikimedia

So, today, I am writing this piece of wisdom to inform you all about pinworms, what causes it, and how to treat pinworms infection in your child. Read it carefully.

First, let’s start with…

What are Pinworms?

Pinworms are small, thin, pin-shaped, and white-coloured worms that live in the lower part of the human gut. They are also called threadworms and particularly affect the preschool and school-age kids.

Note: Itching in anus or bumhole can occur due to other causes besides pinworms. Rule out these causes before treating the pinworms.


How do you tell if your child has Pinworms?

A child infected with pinworms complaints of:

banner-symptoms-pinworms-infection

*Tip: Sometimes the child may not show any symptoms of pinworm infection. If you suspect your child to be infected, consult your doctor immediately.


What causes pinworms in your child?

pinworm-clipart

Your child gets infected by eating or breathing in the microscopic eggs of pinworms which can be found on/in:

  • Bed linens
  • Towels
  • Clothes especially undergarments and lowers
  • Toilets
  • Bathrooms and sanitaryware
  • Food and water
  • Eating utensils
  • Drinking glasses
  • Toys
  • Kitchen counters
  • Desks and tables
  • Door handles

The eggs pass from the infected surfaces to your child’s digestive system and hatch in his small intestine (gut). Few weeks later they travel to the large intestine and reside there.

When your child sleeps at night, the female worms come out of the gut through anus (bumhole) and deposit their eggs on the surrounding skin, which leads to itching in that area.

When the child scratches the itchy area, eggs get transferred to his hands and fingers. If he puts these contaminated hands into his mouth or touches other surfaces, they get back to his body or contaminates the surfaces as well.

However, kids don’t catch pinworms from pet animals.

Read: 9 things to check before getting a pet for your child


How to diagnose pinworms?

You can be sure about pinworm infection in your child by placing a sticky piece of clear cellophane tape against your child’s rectum (bumhole).

Pinworm eggs will stick to the tape. Place this tape on a glass slide followed by another piece of tape and carry it to the laboratory. Pinworms eggs can be examined under a microscope.

The best time to take a sample of eggs using a tape is at night or in the morning before a bath (when the pinworms activity around the rectum is high). The doctor also might take some samples from under a child’s fingernails to look for eggs.


How to get rid of pinworms?

The doctor will prescribe you de-worming tablets like mebendazole, vermox, etc. to treat pinworms infection in the child.

pinworms-infected-child-scratching-bumhole

However, there are some do’s and don’ts to follow for pinworms treatment:

1. Treat the entire family, not only the infected child

Even though other family members including yourself show no symptoms of pinworm infection, there’s 100% chances you are.

An infected child continuously scratches his bottom and transfers the pinworm eggs to his hands and nails. While touching the toys and household objects with these hands, he transfers the infection to them and other family members.

So, ask your doctor to prescribe for the whole family.

Treat the entire family for pinworms rather than just the infected child. Click To Tweet If you breastfeed a baby, consult your doctor before taking any medications.


2. Complete the treatment course

Pinworms treatment comprises of two doses of the medicine 2 weeks apart. Though the symptoms subside after a week, the second dose is required to get rid of pinworms completely.

If you miss the second dose, your child will be re-infected within a short span.


3. Don’t rely on home remedies for pinworms treatment

Some parents still prefer to give home remedies like raw garlic, coconut oil, and raw carrots for pinworms treatment. However, these measures don’t have a scientific proof.

So, ALWAYS consult a doctor for appropriate and timely treatment. Consulting a doctor becomes crucial when:

  1. The symptoms persist beyond a week of giving a de-worming tablet
  2. The child complains of severe stomach pain
  3. You notice blood in his urine or stool

4. Don’t neglect the hygienic measures

Though you must follow these hygienic measures all the year round, they are more significant while your child has pinworms infection. The measures include:

  • Washing yours and child’s hands with water and soap for at least 15-20 seconds (See the 9 effective steps you must take for completely clean hands) before and after eating, after using the toilet, and coming from outdoors.
  • Taking a bath daily
  • Asking not to bite fingernails
  • Cutting the fingernails and keeping them short
  • Washing the vegetables and fruits before cooking or consumption
  • Cleaning the household thoroughly including the floor, toys, bedding, toilet seats, and countertops
Few extra steps to take during pinworms infection:
  • Ask your child to use a shower for bathing instead of the bathtub or a bucket.
  • Do not allow the infected child to bathe with anyone else in the family.
  • Use hot water to wash all the clothes, bedding and other laundry.
  • Change the child’s clothes daily including the undergarments.
  • Use a disinfectant daily to wipe the floors, countertops and toilet seats.
  • Avoid shaking clothing and bedding to keep pinworm eggs from spreading into the air.

5. Take care of the outdoors

If your child gets infected with pinworms again and again, possibly the source of infection is outdoors like his school, playground or daycare. Enquire about these sources of infection and take appropriate measures.

*Tip: If your child has a tendency to catch worm infection frequently, despite you taking all the measures, CONSULT A QUALIFIED HOMOEOPATHIC DOCTOR in your area. Homoeopathy will take care of the tendency and improve your child’s immunity.


Can pinworms go away without treatment?

pinworms-medicine

Pinworms don’t go away without treatment.

Even if they are not treated, it doesn’t cause a serious complication in most kids. However, in some children, the worms may travel to the urinary tract leading to Urinary Tract Infection or in the uterus leading to a vaginal discharge in young girls.

So, if your child has begun to wet his bed suddenly after being dry for long, look for the probability of pinworms infection and get the treatment by your doctor.

Read: How to stop bed-wetting in children


Treating the itchy bumhole

Besides the de-worming tablet prescribed by the doctor, follow these steps to relieve anal itching in your child:

  • Clean the area with water thoroughly after each poop
  • Wash it with soap and water while bathing and clean dry with a seperate towel
  • Apply coconut oil after bathing or ask the doctor to prescribe a suitable ointment
  • If the child complains of pain along with itching, apply ice-cubes wrapped in a cloth for 10 minutes, twice a day.

Conclusion

Pinworms are common, contagious and can lead to an itchy bum hole at night.

However, it’s easy to get rid of them. Take the prescribed medications in the right dose and follow the basic hygienic measures thoroughly.

pinworms-treatment-steps

Have more questions regarding worm infection in kids? Drop them in the comments and I will answer them.

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Dr Shivangi Aggarwal

Hi. I am Dr Shivangi Aggarwal, Founder, Mom and Me, practicing as a homoeopathic consultant for child diseases since 10 years. Raising a physically and emotionally healthy child is no less than a challenge today as it is encountered by many hurdles. "Mom and Me" holds your hand to overcome these challenges in the most practical way and give your child a future he will love.

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