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Facts About...


What is it?

Pinworm is a common, mild infection that often affects school children and preschoolers. It can often infect more than one person in the family. Pinworms are microscopic (very small) white thread-like worms that live in the rectum. All ages and classes of people can be affected. It is very common in preschoolers and spreads easily among children and staff in child care settings.

How is it spread?

Scratching the infested anal area can transfer the eggs to hands which can be spread to others. They can also be spread by touching clothing, bedding, food, toys or other articles that have the eggs on them. These eggs can live for up to 3 weeks outside the body, on clothing, bedding or other objects.

What do I look for?

Itching around the anus, disturbed sleep, and irritability are the most common symptoms. Sometimes the scratched skin may become infected by other germs. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all.

Diagnosis is made by either seeing adult worms in the anus region (best examined 2-3 hours after person is asleep).Diagnosis can also be made by touching transparent adhesive tape (scotch tape) to the area around the anus and having the tape studied under a microscope for eggs.

How is it treated?

Treatment is available from your doctor and may have to be repeated. Entire families may have to be treated if several members are infected.

How can I protect myself?

February 2015