Springdale Mason Pediatrics

Pinworm Seen

Definition

  • A tiny, harmless worm that lives in the colon (large bowel)
  • It causes itching of the anus

Call or Return If

  • Anal symptoms last over 1 week after treatment
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse

About This Topic

Symptoms

  • Itching and irritation of the anus and buttocks is the main symptom
  • Sometimes, moves to the vagina and causes vaginal itching or discharge

Cause

  • A white, very thin, threadlike worm. It's about ΒΌ to 1/2 inch (6 to 12 mm) long.
  • It moves. (If it doesn't wiggle, it's probably lint or a thread.)
  • The worm may be seen around the anus or on the child's bottom. It is especially active at night or early morning.
  • Rarely, the pinworm is seen on the surface of a stool.

Prevention

  • Wash hands and fingernails well before meals and after using the toilet.

After Care Advice

Overview:
  • Pinworms are the most common worm infection in the US.
  • Pinworms can cause anal itching.
  • Pinworms do not carry any diseases.
  • Treatment is very helpful.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
Pinworm Medicine:
  • If a pinworm was seen, your doctor will suggest a special pinworm medicine.
  • Give the medicine as directed.
  • Give a repeat dose of the pinworm medicine in 2 weeks. Reason: To prevent the pinworms from coming back.
  • The repeat dose is needed because eggs can live for 1 to 2 weeks. Temperature and humidity levels also affect how long the eggs can stay alive.
Treating Close Contacts:
  • There is a slight risk that pinworms may spread to others.
  • Treat family members only if they have symptoms.
  • If another child sleeps with the infected child, they also should be treated.
  • If any of your child's friends have symptoms, be sure to tell their parents. These children should get tested or checked for pinworms.
Preventing Spread to Others:
  • Infection is caused by swallowing pinworm eggs.
  • A child can get pinworms no matter how carefully you clean your home.
  • The following hygiene measures, however, can help to reduce the chances of spread:
  • Wash hands more often. Have your child scrub the hands and fingernails well before each meal. Also, wash the hands well after each use of the toilet. Keep the fingernails cut short, because eggs can collect here.
  • Each morning give your child a shower. Always rinse the anal area. Do this for 3 days after taking the pinworm medicine.
  • Wash clothes and bedding at a hot temperature. This will kill any eggs left in them.
What to Expect:
  • After taking the pinworm medicine, itching should stop in 5 in 7 days.
Return to School:
  • Children with pinworms do not need to miss any child care or school.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2020 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
Article 2579