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Pinworm Infections In Children: Treatment And Prevention

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Mar 13, 2023

Pinworm Infections In Children: Treatment And Prevention

Pinworm infections can affect anyone, but are most common in children. If not removed soon, pinworms that live and develop in the body for a long time are at risk of leading to many serious complications, greatly affecting the health of the patient.

What is a Pinworm Infection?

Pinworms are a small parasite that can live in the colon and rectum. You will get pinworms when you eat pinworm eggs. The eggs then hatch in the intestines. While you sleep, the female worm will leave the intestines and go to the anus to lay eggs in the surrounding skin. When you go outside without washing your hands thoroughly, the eggs can get on your hands and spread to others. Worm eggs can live on the surface of everyday utensils for up to 2 weeks.

Who is Usually Infected with Pinworms?

Pinworm infection is a very common disease. The disease affects both sexes and is usually seen in children between the ages of 5 and 14. You can limit your chances of getting the disease by minimizing your risk factors. Please consult your doctor for more information.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Pinworm Infection?

Itching around the anus or buttocks (especially at night) is the most common symptom of pinworm infection. Other symptoms of pinworm infection may include irritation of the skin around the anus, trouble sleeping, and vaginal itching.

There may be other symptoms and signs not mentioned. If you have any questions about symptoms, consult your doctor.

When Do You Need to See a Doctor?

If you have the signs and symptoms mentioned above, or have any questions or concerns, consult your doctor. The location and medical condition can be different in many people. Always discuss with your doctor to determine the best method of diagnosis, treatment, and management for you.

What Causes Pinworm Infection?

Pinworm infection is caused by a worm called Enterobius vermicularis which is about the length of a stapler and is usually spread when you touch your anus and then touch food or household items.

What Factors Increase the Risk of Pinworm Infection?

There are many factors that can put you at increased risk of pinworm infection including:

  • Age: Children are most susceptible to pinworm infections, usually between the ages of 5 and 14.
  • Live in a cramped space. 
  • Live in temperate climates.
  • Poor hygiene.

What Medical Techniques are Used to Diagnose Pinworm Infections?

Since worms usually go down to the anus to lay eggs in the evening, the best time to check is a few hours after the baby goes to bed or as soon as the baby wakes up in the morning. Parents can use a flashlight to see the worms more clearly.

Your doctor can help you diagnose a pinworm infection by testing it with a test strip. A patch may be applied to the skin of the anus and then removed. Worms can be stuck on the tape and seen with a magnifying glass or microscope. This test should also be done early in the morning before bathing and using the toilet.

What methods are used to treat pinworm infections?

To treat a pinworm infection, your doctor will ask you and all of your family members to take a dewormer to avoid the effects. Creams or lotions can help relieve itching and discomfort. Worms will die in a few days after taking the medicine and the itching will be gone in 1 week.

Family members must wash their hands and clean their nails regularly. Shower every day and wash the anal area carefully. Do not put your hands or any other objects in your mouth because the eggs can be transmitted this way. Use hot water to wash dishes, eating utensils, clothes, bedding, and towels. Children’s toys must be cleaned with an antiseptic.

What Lifestyle Habits Help You Limit the Progression of a Pinworm Infection?

The following lifestyle and lifestyle habits will help you limit the progression of pinworm infection:

  • Tell your child’s doctor about other illnesses and medications they are taking.
  • Call your doctor if the itching doesn’t go away after 1 week.
  • Give your child the medicine exactly as directed.
  • Teach children to wash their hands properly with soap after using the toilet and before eating.
  • Tell the school nurse or babysitter if your child has pinworms.
  • Keep your child’s fingernails clean and don’t let them grow too long.
  • Bathe your child and change their underwear and bed sheets every day.
  • Use very hot water to wash dishes, scrub all washable toys with bleach solution and scrub the toilet thoroughly.
  • Continue to see your doctor after treatment to make sure all worms have been killed.
  • Call your doctor if anyone has symptoms of a worm infection that come back after treatment or have side effects from medication that don’t go away quickly.

If you have any questions, consult your doctor for the best treatment support.

Learn more about Infectious Diseases in Children here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Mar 13, 2023

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