Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are tiny parasites that infect the large intestine and show up in your stools. Especially common in young children, having threadworms can cause itching around the anus.
Thankfully, threadworm is very simple to treat and the infection can be cleared with a single dose of threadworm medicine. You will, however, need to treat the entire household so shop now on UK Meds with next day delivery options and a reliable and friendly service.
What are threadworms?
Threadworms, also known as pinworms, is an infection of the large intestine caused by tiny parasitic worms. It’s a common infection, particularly in young children, and it often goes unnoticed by those who have it.
The worms are white and small and resemble short pieces of thread, which you may notice in yours or your child’s stool. Not in every case, but sometimes you may notice the worms on your bedding or pyjamas too.
A lot of people notice no symptoms but the main one is an itchy feeling around the anus (and sometimes the vagina). This often intensifies at night and can cause people with threadworms to scratch during their sleep, or to experience disturbed sleep in general. This scratching can sometimes lead to a skin infection around the anus (if bacteria enters any broken skin) and severe symptoms include loss of appetite and weight loss.
How are threadworms spread?
The reason that the itchiness is worse at night is because this is when the threadworms lay their eggs around the infected person’s anus. As they lay the eggs, they also secrete a mucus that causes the itching and as the person scratches, the eggs can get stuck on the person’s fingertips.
From there, the threadworm eggs can be transferred to surfaces, clothing and other people’s hands, and then transferred to their mouths. Eggs that have been swallowed will then hatch inside the intestine, and eggs that hatch around the anus can re-enter the bowel. The eggs can survive for up to 2 weeks before hatching, and it’s a further 2 weeks from hatching to become full size, at which point they can start to reproduce and start the cycle again.
How can I treat threadworms?
Treatment for threadworms is very simple and involves only a single dose of Mebendazole. However, you will need to treat everyone in the household to make sure that no one else is carrying unhatched eggs (the stage before symptoms begin to appear). This medicine will kill the threadworms and clear the symptoms, as well as preventing the spread.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and you or one of your children has threadworms then you should make the doctor aware, as the recommended treatment in these cases is usually different.
During and after treatment, it’s important that you follow strict hygiene measures, as it is very easy to spread threadworms without realising. Regularly vacuum your house, clean down all surfaces with proper antibacterial products and always wash your hands after going to the toilet, and before eating or touching your mouth. Of course, this is good practice anyway, but particularly if a threadworm infection occurs.
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