Pinworms

Pinworms are white, thin worms that are about ¼ inch long that can live in people’s intestines.  They are the most common form of worm infection in the U.S.  They are usually seen in the anus especially at night or in the early morning when the female worms come out to lay eggs.  Occasionally, the worm may be found on the surface of a bowel movement.  They cause considerable itching of the anal area, and can cause trouble sleeping.  Some people with a severe case may also have stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.

 Pinworm infection is caused by swallowing pinwormeggs. No matter how clean you are, your child can still get pinworms. Kids scratch itchy bottoms and touch other things.   Ten percent of us carry pinworms without symptoms.

 

WHAT TO DO:

If your child complains an itchy bottom especially at night, check for pinworms.  Examine the area around the anus with a flashlight.  Do this a few hours after your child goes to bed or first thing in the morning.  If your child has been in recent contact with a child with pinworms but has no symptoms, wait for about a month. 

The following will help to prevent pinworms:

  • Have your child wash their hands before eating and after using the toilet.
  • Vacuum or wet mop your child’s room once per week because any eggs scattered on the floor are infectious for 1-2 weeks.
  • Machine wash your child’s bedding or clothing at regular temperature, to kill any eggs present.

 If worms are seen the doctor will prescribe a medication to kill the pinworms.  This is generally not an emergency.  Call during regular office hours for treatment.  The people who live with you will usually be treated too since pinworms spread easily between people in the same home.

 WHEN TO CALL:

During office hours:

  • If the skin around the anus becomes red or painful (may be due to streptococcus bacteria, or eczema, and not pinworms)
  • the anal itching is not resolved within 1 week after treatment

Immediately if:

Pinworms are not a medical emergency. Please call with concerns only during office hours.

Call or Visit

  • phone: (616) 243-9515

  • FAX: (616) 243-1815

  • after hours: (616) 776-7401

  • or contact us via the Patient Portal

  • Alger Pediatrics
    733 Alger St. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507