If you or your children have pinworm infection then you are landed at the right place.Know what are the causes, symptoms and how you can get rid of pinworms using home remedy.
Pinworms are small, wormlike parasites that live in the colon and rectum/anal area of infected humans. They are a species of roundworm (nematode) called Enterobius vermicularis.
They are tiny but visible, white in color and threadlike in appearance. Male pinworms are 2-5mm long, and females are 8-13mm long.
What is Pinworm Infection?
Pinworm infection is prevalent throughout the temperate regions of the world and is the most common worm infection in America. This disease, caused by pinworms, mostly occurs in school-aged children between 5-10 years of age.
However, it can easily be contracted by adults in direct contact with kids like parents, caretakers or teachers. Thus, this type of infection is highly contagious. It affects millions of people each year, especially young kids. However can be easily treated using medication and proper after-care. It rarely causes any serious health complications.
What Causes Pinworm?
The most common way that people get infected by it is by swallowing the microscopic pinworm eggs unknowingly. Since children are more prone to swallowing eggs due to their negligence, they are most likely to be infected by pinworms. So here’s how pinworm infection spreads:
- Small children in their negligence swallow pinworm eggs. These eggs travel to their intestines, moving from the small intestine to the large intestine. Within a month, these eggs start hatching into worms.
- During the night time, the female worms crawl out of the intestines and lay eggs around the anal area.
- As the females lay eggs, it causes itching in the anal area. As the children tend to scratch the area, these eggs get collected inside their fingernails.
- Now, these eggs would stick to anything that they touch; toys, food, furniture, clothes, etc.
- Anyone who comes in contact with these eggs carries them and at some point swallows them or inhales them. This is how the cycle starts all over again.
Adult female worms can live for up to three months inside their human host. Their eggs can survive up to two weeks in a cold and humid environment but die in one or two days in cold and dry surroundings.
In places like homes, schools, etc., pinworms can spread quickly from one person to other due to some contact. Also, the family members of the kids infected with worms are also easily affected.
In short, any place where many people come in contact is likely to be a breeding ground for pinworms. Also, it is possible to inhale the airborne pinworm eggs in rare cases. Also, swimming pools are also a contributing factor in spreading pinworms in a few instances.
It might look like our pets might be giving our children these worms. But that’s not the case. Pinworms are only carried by humans and not by animals.
If your child develops a pinworm infection, don’t worry too much about it. Pinworms are irritating but are not harmful. They just cause itching. And they can be treated very quickly.
Symptoms Of Pinworm
Sometimes, one may be infected by pinworms and still not know it. However, the most common symptom of pinworm infection is intense itching sensation in the anal or vaginal area. This is caused by the worms as they lay the eggs and cause itching in the area to induce scratching and eventual spreading of their eggs. This itching is at its peak during the night since the worms move towards the anal area to lay their eggs in the night.
It causes a lot of discomforts, irritation, and disturbances in sleep.
In girls, the infection may spread to the vagina and cause vaginal discharges and discomfort along with itching. Too much scratching near the area may cause rashes and broken skin and eventually lead to a bacterial skin infection.
The infrequent infection of the bladder may even cause dysuria or bladder discomfort. Another effect of the infection can be a rash near the anus or vagina.
In some cases, there is abdominal pain along with nausea caused by the pinworm infection in the intestines. This is a less common symptom but likely to happen.
How Is Pinworm Infection Diagnosed?
Pinworms can be diagnosed based on symptoms or even by observing with the naked eye. Since the worms are visible, you will probably get a glimpse of them near the anal area.
To check for pinworm infection in your child, look around his anal area 2-3 hours after he has fallen asleep. This is the time that the female worms are likely to migrate to the anus to lay their eggs.
So you can notice them quickly at this time. You might also see worms in the toilet after your child has gone to the bathroom.
Also, you might see the worms in your child’s underwear in the morning. They look like tiny white threads. That is when you know your child has been infected and probably you are too, due to all the contact.
Pinworms Tape Test For Diagnosis:
In the other cases, a tape test is done to identify and collect the pinworm eggs from the anal lining since the eggs are transparent and microscopic. These eggs are then observed under the microscope to be identified.
The procedure of the tape test:
a. A small piece of cellophane tape is wrapped around a clean tongue depressor.
b. This piece of tape is then pressed onto the anal area of the person as soon as he wakes up in the morning.
c. It is important that this is done first thing in the morning before using the washroom or bathing or changing clothes. This makes the potential finding of worm eggs easier.
d. This procedure may be repeated for three days in a row to make sure that the diagnosis is accurate and the chances of finding the eggs are maximized.
As soon as you confirm the infection, make a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible for the proper diagnosis of the condition. All pediatricians and family physicians are capable of diagnosing and treating the disease effectively. Try not to rely entirely on home remedies and self-treatment of pinworms. You might end up doing more harm than good.
The best thing you can do is support the doctor’s treatment with home remedies and not wholly depend upon medication to get rid of the worms. So here are some of the most helpful DIY remedies that you can try when your child is infected by pinworms:
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Pinworm:
1. Raw Carrots
Carrots are rich in fiber and help in improving digestion and bowel movement. Therefore, adding one cup of carrots twice a day to your daily diet will go a long way in getting rid of the pinworms.
2. Raw Garlic
Garlic is an excellent home remedy for treating a pinworm infection. In fact, it is so helpful that it can be taken in along with your food or even be applied to the anal area to ease the itching and kill the worms.
Garlic, when ingested along with the food is known to destroy the pinworm eggs and prevent the female pinworms from laying any more eggs. Hence, it is an extremely efficient way to get rid of the pinworm infection.
Another useful way to rid your intestines of pinworms is by using onions. The naturally occurring sulfur in onions is very helpful in getting rid of pinworms. To get the best results, slice a medium onion and soak it in a large pitcher of water overnight. Drink this water three times a day for clearing your intestines of the worms.
4. Flaxseeds and Clove
The mixture of clove and flaxseeds works wonders in treating pinworm infection. Just mix the ingredients in the ratio 1:10 (1 clove and 10 parts flaxseeds) and mix this with the food once a day. Repeat this procedure for three days in a row and then take three days off, before continuing it again for three days.
5. Coconut Oil For Pinworm
Coconut oil is a very popular home remedy for treating worm infections. Its antiviral and antibacterial properties are excellent for treating such diseases. Simply ingest one teaspoon of coconut oil every morning. Also, you can rub some coconut oil on the anal area to relieve itching and treat the infection.
The active ingredients such as santonin, thujone, and isothujone are highly antiparasitic and kill the worms by damaging their cell membrane. Hence, wormwood is one of the best remedies for pinworms. Just mix a few drops of wormwood with water or your tea to clear your intestinal tract of worms. It is best to have this solution empty stomach.
7. Pumpkin Seeds For Pinworms
One of the easiest ways to treat pinworms is by using raw pumpkin seeds as they are readily available in the market. Take raw crushed pumpkin seeds, simmer them in water for about two hours and strain the seeds by using cheesecloth or a filter.
Take a tablespoon of this after every fifteen minutes to a total of four doses. Then, two hours later, take a laxative and follow it up with a bowl of oatmeal after two more hours. This is sure to leave your system clean and free of worms.pinworm medication
8. Bitter Gourd For Pinworms
Drinking bitter gourd juice is an excellent way to flush the pinworms and their eggs out of the body.
9. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is available in liquid form as well as in the form of pills. All you need to do is mix 10 drops of this extract with water and drink it thrice a day for one week. It works wonders for treating pinworm infection.
10. Dietary Changes
As with any disorder or infection, it is important to make some dietary changes to treat the pinworm infection. Foods with high sugar and high level of carbohydrates should be avoided and should be replaced with foods rich in fiber and vitamins. Also, probiotic foods like curd can be very helpful which undergoing the treatment for pinworms as these foods increase the number of good bacteria in the body, which will, in turn, be bad for the pinworms.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar For Pinworm
Apple cider vinegar has a lot of health benefits along with being an excellent remedy for treating pinworms. Mix one or two teaspoons of it with a glass of water and drink it every day to flush out the worms.
Finally, it is important to be careful with these as you might be allergic to some of the ingredients. To find out what would suit you best and as I pointed out before, DO NOT rely solely on these remedies. First, go, see a doctor and back up the doctor’s treatment with these remedies.
Now moving on to the drug-based treatment options available for pinworm infections, we see that depending upon the symptoms, the doctor may follow a particular treatment option. Several creams and ointments are available to soothe the itchy and irritating skin around the anus. Anthelmintics like mebendazole and albendazole are effective against pinworms.
However, re-infection is quite common in case of pinworms since they may be resistant o drugs. Hence, this drug therapy has to be repeated at least three times separated by three weeks. This will ensure proper de-worming. All the family members and classmates also have to go through the same process simultaneously for the treatment to be successful. Also, a follow up is necessary after the drug therapy to make sure that there is no re-infection.
Treatment process also involves thoroughly disinfecting your home, along with all the furniture, beds, couches, windows, door knobs, linens, curtains, etc. to ensure that there is no possibility of contact with contaminated surfaces at least at home.
P.S. You may also need to treat your pets for the same since they might have swallowed some eggs through contact. So do not ignore them as it will eventually be your loss.
How To Prevent Pinworm Infection
The best way to prevent pinworm infections is by following rigorous hygiene and cleanliness routine. Make sure to disinfect your homes every few days. Also, sanitize hard surfaces properly. The pinworm eggs can survive on hard surfaces for up to two weeks. So be careful about cleaning such surfaces with a disinfectant regularly.
Next, maintain personal hygiene and encourage your family members to do so too. Wash your hands properly before touching food and avoid touching any surface that can harbor eggs. Using soap and warm water is the best way to wash hands before eating food.
Also, wash your undergarments and towels in warm water to disinfect them properly. Do wash them every few days without fail. They carry more bacteria and viruses than you can tell.
Lastly, teach your kids the importance of personal hygiene. Do not let them bite their nails or put any contaminated object in their mouth. Instill good habits of washing their hands before eating and not putting their hands in their mouths after touching another object. These habits will save you and your child a lot of discomforts.
As we have seen, pinworm infections are very common. Although they are disgusting and irritating, these infections do not cause any serious health hazards and are hardly dangerous. They mostly affect little kids and eventually make their way to infect adults around them too.
These infections can be prevented by maintaining proper hygiene and clean surroundings and encouraging kids to follow hygienic habits. As they say, prevention is better than cure. However, these preventive habits don’t ensure complete immunity from pinworm infections.
Therefore the best way is to be on the lookout for any signs of an infection in your children. Early detection would cause the least discomfort to you and your children. Also, once the disease is detected, make sure to get all the family members checked for the same infection since it is a high possibility that all the family members are now the carriers of the infection.
Do not leave the treatment midway. And lastly, the follow-up is as necessary as the treatment procedure to ensure proper disinfection of all the family members. In the end, I would just say that cleanliness is the key to the good health of you and your family.