Pin worms or “pinworms” belong to the family Oxyuridae, order Oxyuroidea, and the phylum Nematoda. The pin worm is classified as Enterobius vermicularis. Threadworms are also classified as Enterobius vermicularis.
Pinworm is the most prevalent parasite infection in the United States and Europe. While it is most commonly found in school-aged children, it can occur in adults as well. Pinworm does not recognize class, race or area, it occurs in rural areas as well as in urban areas. Humans can become infected with pinworm after drinking water or eating food contaminated with pinworm eggs. Pinworm eggs are ovoid on one side and approximately .55 mm x .25 mm in size. The eggs can last for twenty days in most moist environment, even sewage.
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The adult pinworm, which is small, white, and threadlike develops in the body’s large intestine and lays its eggs in the anal region. The female pinworm can lay up to 15,000 eggs. While some people will not experience any symptoms of pinworms, others will experience mild to moderate symptoms. The most common symptom of pinworms is itching around the anus. The itching becomes worse at night when the female pinworm lays her eggs on the infected person.
Pinworms rarely cause symptoms in other areas in the region such as the vagina or urinary tract. If they do, which is extremely rare, any irritation will go away on its own along with the pinworm. They just can’t survive in these areas.
Because pinworms can be seen with the naked eye, they are easy to detect. They are most active at night, so this is the best time to look for them. Pinworms can also be seen on the outside of the infected person’s stool.
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There are several treatments for pinworms. According to MedicineHealth:
“Albendazole (Albenza) is the most common treatment for pinworms. Treatment is a single tablet, which kills the worms. There are different strengths for adults and children younger than 2 years. To lessen the chance of reinfection, the infected person will have to take a second dose two weeks after treatment. Pinworm eggs can survive for a few weeks. Other treatments such as Mebendazole (Vermox) and pyrantel pamoate (Pin-Rid, Pin-X) also work. They are also taken in a single dose and repeated 2 weeks later.”
There are several things that must be done after treatment (and beyond) to prevent reinfection. The treated individual should:
·Avoid biting the fingernails.
·Clean and vacuum play areas. Continue this practice indefinitely.
·Get into the habit of thoroughly washing the hands after using the bathroom, before and after eating, and before preparing food.
·Launder all bedding every 3-7 days for 3 weeks.
·Make sure the child or infected person changes his/her underwear daily.
·Thoroughly wash all bedding, clothing, pajamas, and toys with hot water and soap to destroy any lingering eggs.
·Wash underwear and pajamas daily for 2 weeks.
If you have been treated for pinworms and you have carefully followed all of the steps listed above and you still become reinfected, do not get discouraged. It is common to become reinfected several months or so after treatment. Simply call your doctor to get started on another round of treatment.