Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are small, white parasitic worms that cause infection of gastrointestinal tract in humans. They are commonly seen in children in the United Kingdom, affecting nearly millions of children under 10 years of age. The risk of infection spreading to other family members through child is 75%.
Children often touch many objects containing the parasites and then eat food with those infected hands. This is how worms invade the body; they hatch in the digestive tract and wriggle out through stools to lay more eggs. Threadworm is highly contagious and the infection passes on by not washing hands properly and poor hygiene. Humans are the only creatures who are susceptible to threadworms and pass on the infection.
Symptoms of threadworm
People with threadworm infection are asymptomatic. The infection can cause intense itching and burning around the anal region and vaginal region (in females), which usually aggravates at night. Other associated symptoms are –
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Skin infection
- Trouble in sleeping
It is important to seek medical attention if you suspected threadworm infection during pregnancy or breastfeeding and in children less than two years of age.
It is best to treat the whole house to get rid of infection. That is because if one person is infected in a family, others are more likely to suffer. You can overcome infection by following strict hygiene measures for nearly six weeks. You need to consult a GP right away if you experience anal or vaginal itching. The most common medicines used to treat threadworm infections are piperazine and mebendazole, which are anti-helminthic drugs.
Threadworm medicine alone will not kill the parasite; you need to maintain good hygiene to prevent re-infection. Wash all towels, bed linen, sleepwear, cuddle toys, etc. Dust the whole house and clean your bathroom and kitchen. Wash your hands frequently and try to maintain hygiene.