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How long does Vermox take to cure threadworm?

5th June 2019

Sometimes it’s not the deadly or dangerous diseases that get us running to the doctor the quickest. It’s usually anything we find to be a bit of a nuisance or anything we think is a bit gross, that gets us dashing off to the pharmacy at the speed of light. For example, head lice, verrucas and threadworm all have people wanting to treat them ASAP and the similarities between them seem to be that they are highly contagious and they seem to mainly affect children.

What is threadworm?

As mentioned, threadworm is harmless. The infection is caused by a small parasitic worm that works its way into your large intestine and lays eggs there. Once the worm is in your system, it will pass through in your stool and you may notice the worms in the toilet; they are small and white and look like tiny pieces of thread (hence the name).

Although the worms are harmless and don’t cause any real pain or discomfort, you may experience itching around the anus. This is especially true at night, as this is when the worms lay their eggs. This itchy feeling can then cause you to scratch your anus in your sleep, and the eggs (super tiny as they are), get lodged underneath your fingernails. From there, you could unknowingly transfer them to surfaces, clothing and food, to be touched, picked up and ingested by the next person.

Because children are less concerned about hygiene and cleanliness than adults are (that is, they wash their hands when they’re told to, not necessarily because they know when they should), this is perhaps why the infection is spread more readily among children.

How do I treat threadworm?

Thankfully, although the infection is a nuisance, the treatment is simple. Vermox tablets contain Mebendazole, which kills the worms by preventing them from absorbing sugar. Because the worms need sugar to survive, this effectively kills them and they will then be excreted from the gut in your stool.

However, this process does not kill any unhatched eggs so it’s important to practise good hygiene to avoid re-infection.

How long does Vermox take to work?

Generally, you will only need a single dose of Vermox to clear up any threadworm infections. After taking 1 tablet, it can take up to 3 days for any dead worms to fully pass through your system but after that, you should be in the clear.

However, if reinfection occurs after this time then take 1 tablet again after 2 to 4 weeks.

How do I avoid reinfection?

It’s important to always practise good hygiene, as not doing so is likely what’s causing the threadworm infestation in the first place. Always wash your hands before and after eating, avoid touching your mouth after touching other surfaces and always wash your hands after going to the toilet.

While being treated for threadworm, there are a few additionals points that you may want to pay close attention to. When washing your hands, really take care to scrub behind the fingernails to make sure there are no pesky eggs hiding there. Keeping your fingernails short and clean will also go some way to sorting this issue out.

Make sure to wear underwear or pyjamas (or both) to bed at night to protect yourself slightly from scratching while using Threadworm medication. Having a bath or shower in the morning, rather than before you go to bed at night, will also help to wash away any eggs that were laid in the anus area overnight.