While kids can become infected with any number of worms from ring worm to the tapeworm, one of the most common worms in kids is the pin worm. The pin worm belongs to the family Oxyuridae, order Oxyuroidea, and the phylum Nematoda. Pin worms are classified as Enterobius vermicularis. Threadworms are also classified as Enterobius vermicularis. Pin worms are also called “seatworms” and they have several spellings including “pinworm,” and “pinworms.”
Pin worm is the most prevalent parasite infection in the United States and Europe today. While pin worm is most commonly found in kids, it can occur in adults as well. Pin worm does not recognize class, race or geographic location. It can occur in rural areas as well as in urban areas. Humans can become infected with pin worm after drinking water or eating food contaminated with pin worm eggs. Pin worm 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.
The adult pin worm, is small, white, and has a threadlike appearance. It develops in the body’s large intestine and lays its eggs in the anal region. The female pin worm can lay up to 15,000 eggs. While some people will not experience any symptoms of pin worms, others will experience mild to moderate symptoms. The most common symptom of pin worms is itching around the anus. The itching worsens at night when the female pin worm lays her eggs on the infected person.
Pin worms 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 pin worm. They just can’t survive in these areas.
Because pin worms 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. Pin worms can also be seen on the outside of the infected person’s stool.
There are several pin worm treatments on the market today. According to MedicineHealth: “Albendazole (Albenza) is the most common treatment for pin worms. 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 and 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 your child has been treated for pin worms and you (and your child) have carefully followed all of the steps listed above and your child 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 immediately.
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