What You'll Learn Here:
A Pinworm is a parasite that lives in the lower portion of the human digestive system. They survive by consuming nutrients from the food of the person who’s hosting them. Pinworms are found throughout the world and are very common, especially in young school-age children.
An adult pinworm is a small threadlike roundworm less than one-half an inch long. The eggs of an adult pinworm are oval and flat on one side, and cannot be seen without a microscope.
What Causes Pinworms?
Humans get pinworms by swallowing pinworm eggs. This occurs when an individual with pinworms scratches around the anal opening and gets eggs under his or her finger nails, or on his or her hands, and then transfers the eggs by touching an object in common or by touching someone directly.
Feeling embarrassed about having pinworms is normal, but keep in mind that a pinworm infection can happen to just about anyone, is spread quite easily, and is in no way associated with being unclean. The spreading of pinworms occurs easily in families, schools, day care centers and so on.
What Are The Symptoms?
Itching around the anal opening is the most common sign of a pinworm infection. Many times there are no symptoms at all and the infected person may never become aware that they have an infection. In rare instances, the itching may become so severe that it may cause sleeplessness, irritability, and anxiety.
Pinworms do not usually pose any serious health risks and are not disease carriers, but can be associated with secondary infections such as rashes and, very rarely, infections of the vagina and urinary tract.
Until symptoms appear, there is no known way to diagnose a pinworm infection. From the time of exposure, symptoms may take up to two months, or longer, to appear. With some infected individuals there are no symptoms at all.
How Are Pinworms Diagnosed?
An examination of the skin around the anus is the primary method used for pinworm diagnosis. A medical history will be requested, along with questions about your potential exposure (i.e. children in daycare). You may be asked to swipe the area around the anus with a piece of transparent adhesive tape. When viewed under a microscope the tape may reveal the presence of pinworms.
How Are Pinworms Treated?
Pinworms are treated quite easily with medication. Sometimes infections clear up on their own, but could take up to 14 weeks – the equivalent of two pinworm life cycles. Medication can help in the prevention of another infection and the spread of pinworms to loved ones.
Cleansing with herbs is an alternative many choose. In addition to its effectiveness at eliminating pinworms, a colon cleansing provides many other benefits.
How To Prevent Pinworms
If someone in your family has pinworms, you will be likely to contract them, too. In order to reduce the spread of pinworms…
- Clean your hands regularly and thoroughly
- Clip your fingernails
- Wash bedding and clothing regularly
- Bathe daily
- Change underwear daily
- Do not scratch the anal opening