Pinworm Infection in Children - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India
Health Education

Pinworm Infection in Children

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 31 Jul 2014 - 17:12.


Pinworm is the commonest infection, affecting children living in temperate climates. The infection is caused by a small roundworm called enterobius vermicularis grown and reproduced in the human intestines.

About 20 percent of all children are affected by pinworm infection. It is more common among children in institutions.There are two modalities for the infection to occur. First the eggs are transferred from the area around the anus to the clothing, bedding or toys. The second step involves transferring these eggs often by the fingers to the mouth of another child. Eggs may also be inhaled from the air and then swallowed. Children may get themselves re-infected by transferring the eggs from the anus to their mouths.

Pinworms mature in the lower intestines within 2 to 6 weeks. The female worm usually moves around the anus in the nights to deposit the eggs in the anal skin folds. The eggs are deposited in sticky substance in the folds of the anus and its movements cause intense itching around the anus.

Symptoms: The eggs have a capacity to stay alive outside the intestines for more than 3 weeks. Some of the worms may migrate to the inside of the rectum and thence to the lower intestines. The main symptom from which the mother can suspect pinworm infection in her child, is constant itching and scratching around the anus. The skin around the anus gets raw due to constant scratching. In female children, due to the proximity of the anus to the vagina there will be irritation and itching in the vagina also.

It is important to remember that, though rare, in some cases the appendix might get blocked by the pinworms leading to appendicitis. Just 2 hours after the child is put to bed at night, the itching starts with worms (white and thin like a hair) wiggling around the anus. One can rarely miss this finding particularly when the child exhibits constant scratching around the anus.

Treatment : Putting the sticky side of a transparent tape around the anus before the child gets up from sleep in the morning can trap the eggs or the worms. The eggs and the worms can be identified under a microscope. Pinworm infection is not harmful. A single dose of Mebendazole or Pyrentel cures about 90 percent of the infected children.

While treating a child with Mebendazole it is essential that all the members in the family should also take the medicine to prevent re-infection.Applying anti-itching ointments two to three times around the anus can relieve itching. This will prevent skin from becoming sore.

Prevention: Since re-infection is common, it is essential to machine wash all the clothing, bedding and toys. Maintaining hygiene of the area after the child completes potty in the diaper or commode is of paramount importance to prevent this seemingly harmless infection, though potentially embarrassing to the child and the onlookers as well.

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.