Well here is a lovely subject! But the truth is that this pesky little blighters are as common as head lice and can give you little ones an upset tummy and an itchy bum, or no symptoms whatsoever. They are highly contagious and there is an increased risk repeat infection. Read on for more info…
A friend asked me for advice about Threadworms recently (I studied Microbiology at University) and it occurred to me that this is a pretty taboo subject. No one wants to broadcast if your kids have a parasite living inside them, so here’s some ‘need to know’ information for those affected or for other enquiring minds.
Threadworms (AKA Pinworms/Seatworms) are very common, particularly in children under 10 years old. They are passed from person to person and if you or your child gets an infection, you’ll end up noticing them wriggling in your/their poo. Some people don’t even notice they have an infection.
There’s a huge risk of passing on worm eggs via direct and indirect contact at schools, nursery’s and even soft play areas. The eggs themselves are layed around the hosts bum along with mucus that causes irritation. The host then itches themselves and contaminates objects and clothes via their hands, increasing the risk of a route to the mouth (retroinfection) and continuing their life cycle.
You can pick up a drug called Mebendazole from a pharmacy without prescription. This kills the worms but not the eggs. One dose is all that’s required, although some people will need another if they manage to reinfect themselves.
Since there is a high risk of passing on infections, everyone in the family should take one tablet. However, if your child is under 2 years old, if you are pregnant or breast feeding you need to see your GP for alternative treatment.
Ultra Hygiene time – clean everything in the kitchen and your bathroom to remove any eggs. Disinfect the whole toilet. Wash clothes after being worn once on a proper wash cycle and change the bedclothes and towels regularly. Wear underwear and pyjamas at night and start morning showers to help remove any eggs. Try to keep fingernails short to reduce the possibility of egg transmission. Get the Vacuum Cleaner out more often and use it on the sofa too. One more thing, don’t share other people’s bath water.
The eggs can last for 2 weeks outside the body, so keep up the hard work. Antihistamine could be used to help curb itching in the worst cases.