Pinworm Infection: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Prevention, Treatment

How to Reduce Pinworms

A pinworm infection is one of the commonest types of parasitic illness in the world. Pinworms are white in color, they are tiny tread like worms. They live in the rectum area, and they crawl out at night to lay eggs on the skin around the anus.

How to Reduce Pinworms

How to Reduce Pinworms

Pinworms are prevalent in children, they can spread easily. Pinworm infections are common in children from 5 to 10 years.
They can directly spread as a result of scratching the anal area by an infected person. Because of scratching the eggs may get under the fingernails. When this person touches a healthy person’s mouth, they will transfer the infection.

Likewise, pinworm can indirectly infect a healthy person by using the objects of the infected person such as toilet seats, clothes, toys or beddings, etc. healthy person picks up the eggs on his or her hands and unknowingly put them into the mouth.

Eggs of the pinworm can live for at least 2 weeks outside the body.

Symptoms of pinworm infection

Usually, pinworm infection does not present any serious symptoms, few kids get itchy around the anus and vagina. Itching is more noticeable at night. In case the infection is bad, one may lose sleep. Long term health effects and significant complications from pinworm infections are a rare phenomenon. Some individuals may be asymptomatic. However, you may notice the following symptoms in children.

Symptoms of pinworm infection

Symptoms of pinworm infection

  • Itching around the anal area, especially in the night

    Discomfort and restless, difficulty in sleeping in the night

  • Rash, skin irritation around the anus
  • Presence of pinworm in stool and on the area around the anal area

Causes of pinworm infection

Pinworm infection is contagious, one can become infected easily by ingesting or inhaling the eggs of pinworm. When eggs of pinworms enter our intestine via the mouth, they remain there until they hatch and mature. The female pinworms travel to the colon and move out of the body through the anus to lay eggs around the anus in the night. Itching and irritation are caused by the presence of eggs in the folds of skin around the anal region.

When this infected person scratches his anal area, these pinworm eggs get deposited to the fingers and nail beds of the fingers. These eggs can easily survive a few hours in the hands of the infected person. When this person touches any household objects like toilet seats, bedding, towels, clothing, toys, etc, the pinworm eggs will transfer to objects. These eggs can survive for 2 to 3 weeks on these objects. Children can easily transfer pinworm infection by using these infected toys and objects.

Though the possibility is less, adults can also inhale the airborne eggs while cleaning the beddings or clothing. While uncommon, eggs on the anal area can hatch and the larvae can reenter the intestine leading to indefinite infection in the body.

Pinworm infection can affect people of any age, yet it is observed that children in elementary school or daycare are more susceptible to this infection.

When children get infected, family members can easily get this infection.

People living in dormitories are more susceptible

Children and adults neglecting proper handwashing before meals are also more prone to pinworm infections
Also, children having habits of thumb sucking are more susceptible
It is important to note that, humans are the only host of pinworms, therefore households pets like cats and dogs cannot serve as a source of infection.

Diagnosis of pinworm

A reliable method for confirming pinworm infection is a tape test, it consists of sticking the adhesive side of cellophane
tape around the anal area. When the pinworms exile the anus in the night, they stick to the sticky adhesive part, likewise the eggs may also stick to the cellophane tape confirming the presence. This tape is supposed to be taken to the laboratory for observation under the microscope.

Diagnosis of pinworm

Diagnosis of pinworm

According to the CDC (centers for disease control), one should perform a tape test for three consecutive mornings. This will help in proper and conclusive diagnosis.

Treatment options for pinworm infection

It is easy to get rid of pinworm infection by following proper hygiene and oral medications.
It is important to treat everyone at the same time, living in the house for pinworm infection, because pinworms can easily pass from one person to another. Commonly used medications are as following – mebendazole, albendazole, and pyrantel pamoate.

One course of medications provide initial dose which is followed by a second dose 1 to 2 week later. At times your doctor may recommend more than one dose for complete eradication of pinworm infection. In case of severe itching at night, one may take the help of ointments and creams which can be locally applied for relief.

Specific household cleaning and hygiene are vital for the complete elimination of eggs of pinworms. Encourage thorough handwashing among children and other family members.

Ensure short and clean nails among family members. Encourage the infected person to refrain from scratching the anal area. It has been observed that pinworms do not survive hot temperatures, therefore wash all the beddings towels and clothing with hot water. Discourage children from bathing together, because pinworms may spread through water.

Dr. Reena Prajapat
Dr Reena Prajapat is a dentist, she post graduated in hospital management from Apollo Institute of hospital Administration, Hyderabad. Her strong belief in natural and home remedies lead her to Pursue bachelor in naturopathy.