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Pinworms

What are pinworms?

  • Pinworms are small, white, threadlike worms that live in the large intestine and are usually 0.25” to 0.5” long.

Signs or Symptoms

  • Itching and irritation around the anal or vaginal area.
  • Pinworms are dangerous.
  • Are relatively common among preschool and school aged kids.
  • Are easily shared within these age groups.

Incubation and Contagious Period

  • Incubation period occurs 1 to 2 months or longer from the time of ingesting the pinworm egg until an adult worm migrates to the anal area.
  • Contagious period occurs as long as the female worms are discharging the eggs to the skin around the anus.

How are pinworms spread?

  • Through fecal-oral route.
  • Directly or indirectly by sharing of toys, bedding, clothing, toilet seats, or baths.
  • Pinworm eggs remain infective for 2 to 3 weeks in indoor environments.
  • Infestation with pinworms commonly clusters within families.

How is it controlled?

  • Practicing good hand hygiene is the most effective method of prevention.
  • Treatment with oral medications once or repeated in 2 weeks may be necessary for the whole family and the group of children who share a common environment.

Caregivers, Teachers, and Family Roles

  • Report the infection to staff members of the child care program or school facility for a decision making and action related care of the ill child.
  • Alert infection to all family members who might be exposed.
  • Suspect pinworm infection if a child has intense itching around the anal or vaginal area. The worms may be seen with a flashlight as 0.5” long crawling threads in the area of the anus after the child as been asleep for about an hour.
  • It’s important to see a health professional for recommended treatments.
  • Bathe the child in the morning to remove a large proportion of eggs that are laid at night.
  • Frequently change underwear, bedclothes, and bed sheets to decrease the amount of egg contamination.
  • Wash children’s hands directly after using the toilet and before putting something anything in their mouths, like food.
  • Frequently clean and sanitize toys and surfaces that are used for eating, toileting, hand washing, food preparation, and diapering.

Group Settings

  • It is unnecessary to exclude children from group settings.

Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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