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How do I Treat a Pinworm Infection?

Article Details
  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 26 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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A pinworm infection is typically caused by the infestation of one or more pinworms in the intestines. This type of parasitic infection is generally very contagious and may easily spread. To treat a pinworm infection, an anti-parasite medicine will generally be prescribed. Treatment may also include frequent bathing, fingernail trimming and hand washing. In addition, if one person of a household is infected with a pinworm, it may be most beneficial to treat everyone in the house in advance.

Most people get pinworms by ingesting pinworm eggs. Commonly, pinworm eggs are swallowed when they enter the mouth by a contaminated finger, food, or a contaminated object such as a toy. Once swallowed, they can nestle into the intestines and eventually female worms may travel outside the infected person's anus and lay eggs. This will generally cause intense anal itching. A person with severe itching may be led to scratch the area and this is one way pinworm eggs can get trapped underneath the fingernails, leading to easy transportation from the person's finger and onto anything he or she touches.

Pinworm infection symptoms can vary. In addition to the anal area, vaginal itching may also be prevalent in women. The itching may cause extreme restlessness and even insomnia or a disturbance of sleep. There may also be a loss of appetite, fidgeting, nervousness, nausea and at times abdominal pain. The aggravation these symptoms can cause may lead a person to seek rapid treatment.

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In most cases, an anti-parasite medicine will be used to treat a pinworm infection. These medications are commonly given in more than one dose. Most often, individuals will receive a second dosage of an anti-parasite medicine within a couple of weeks of the first dosage. In addition, depending on symptoms, some people may need more or fewer doses.

Frequent bathing is also beneficial in treating this type of infection. It will be very important to bathe often and thoroughly. Additionally, practicing exceptionally good bathroom habits are also important. Small children with pinworms may need assistance to properly clean themselves. As miniature pinworm eggs commonly collect underneath the fingernails, keeping the nails trimmed short and very clean are also of essential importance.

Hand washing can treat a pinworm infection by cutting down on the chances of reinfection. Each times the hands are washed, the chances of the parasites being reintroduced into the body become slimmer. In addition, frequent hand washing can also diminish the potential spreading of the infection.

Family treatment may also be used to cure a pinworm infection. As the infection can be quite contagious, it may be recommended for the entire household to undergo an anti-parasite treatment. This may be done to prevent anyone else from being infected with the parasite. In addition, it may also be done to prevent reinfection of the original victim in the event that someone else in the family gets the infection. Furthermore, detailed house cleaning, such as dusting, and cleaning most-touched areas in the house, such as light switches, remotes and door knobs may also curb the chances of reinfection or infection spreading.

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