Worms that give you the itch

IT’S amazing what poor hygiene can do.

If you live in a house with other people and don’t clean the toilet regularly or if you are in regular contact with unhygienic people – then there’s every chance that you have had or have threadworms.

You will have an itching feeling around your anus and may have a serious of white specks around it which are the eggs.

Threadworms are tiny, very thin white worms up to 13 millimetres long that live in the intestine and around the anus. They are also called pinworms. They look like small threads of white cotton, hence their name. They are widespread in Australia. Although people of any age can get them, children are the most susceptible.

On mydr.com.au, it suggests that threadworms produce large numbers of microscopic eggs.

These eggs are present in house dust and stick to clothes, carpets and bedding. They can also be transmitted through contact with a person who is already infected with worms. It is very easy for people to ingest the eggs because the worms produce so many of them and they are so small.

After the eggs have been ingested they pass into a person’s small intestine (bowel) where they hatch and mature. A few weeks after hatching out these worms can reproduce — usually about a month later. When the worms are fully grown, the female comes out onto the skin around the bottom at night and lays eggs. At this time, symptoms may develop, including the classic one of a severe ‘itchy bottom’. The worms can also often be seen on bowel movements or around the anus especially at night.

Some children have no symptoms at all, but some of the other signs of threadworm infection your child may show are:

  • tiredness;
  • disturbed sleep;
  • teeth grinding;
  • bedwetting;
  • nose rubbing; and
  • loss of appetite.

If you think your child has worms you should see your doctor, who may do tests to diagnose the condition and identify the type of worm involved.

Fortunately treatment for threadworms is very easy. Usually only one or 2 doses of a medication is needed to kill the infestation — once initially and then a second dose repeated 2 weeks after the initial dose if required.

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