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What you need to know about a pinworm infection:
Pinworms are small, thin, white worms that infect the intestines. At night, these worms enter your child's anus and lay tiny eggs around it. Pinworm infections are most common in children 5 to 14 years old. A pinworm infection may also be called enterobiasis.
Common signs and symptoms of a pinworm infection:
Your child may not have any symptoms, or he or she may have any of the following:
- Itching around the anus that is worse at night
- Irritability and trouble sleeping
- Decreased appetite, and losing weight without trying
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Bed wetting or pain during urination
- Redness or bleeding around your child's anus
- Urinary tract infection or vaginal infections in females
Seek care immediately if:
- Your child is not gaining weight and feels weak.
- Your child has blood in his or her bowel movements.
- Your child has severe abdominal pain.
Contact your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child has a decreased appetite.
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child has diarrhea.
- Your child has trouble sleeping.
- Your child's anus becomes red and painful.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
A pinworm infection is treated with medicine that kills the pinworms inside your child's intestines. This medicine stops the pinworms from laying eggs. Other family members may also be given this medicine even if they do not have symptoms. Medicated creams may also be given to treat redness, pain, and swelling of your child's anus.
Prevent the spread of a pinworm infection:
- Change and wash your child's clothes, underpants, and bed sheets daily. Do not shake the clothes or bedding before washing, because this may spread the eggs.
- Give your child a bath after he or she wakes up every morning. Use a clean towel or washcloth every time. Wash your child's anus with soap and water.
- Keep your child's nails short and clean.
- Wash your hands after you change your child's diapers or help him or her in the bathroom. Have your child wash his or her hands before he or she holds or eats food.
- Tell others to wash their hands before and after they take care of your child.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.