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Pinworm Infection

What is a Pinworm Infection?

A pinworm infection is an intestinal infection caused by pinworms. The infection occurs after pinworm eggs are ingested. Pinworm infections are common in young children and are easily treated.

In females, pinworm infection can spread to the vagina and cause a vaginal discharge.

Pinworm infections are also called: seatworm infection, threadworm infection, enterobiasis, and oxyuriasis.

What are Pinworms?

Pinworms are small, white parasitic worms. They are about 1 centimeter inches long.

Pinworms are also called Enterobius Vermicularis.

Symptoms of a Pinworm Infection

Sometimes symptoms are not present. When symptoms are present, the most common symptom is itching around the rectum, disturbed sleep, and irritability.

Itching is usually worse at night. Itching is worse at night because the worms are migrating to the area around the rectum to lay their eggs.

In some cases, the worms can actually be seen in the area around the rectum or in the stool. The worms look like light-colored threads on the move.

How are people infected with Pinworms?

People are infected by unknowingly eating microscopic pinworm eggs. Pinworms lay their eggs in the area around the rectum. The eggs may be transferred to other surfaces by contaminated fingers. Pinworm eggs are able to live on a surface (pajamas, toilets, bed linens, toys, bathroom fixtures, clothing) for 2 to 3 weeks.

How to Prevent Pinworm Infections

You can prevent pinworm infections by washing your hands after using the toilet and before eating.

Can Pinworm Infections be Treated?

Yes. Your doctor will prescribe medication that will kill the pinworms. Treatment involves a two-dose course. The second dose should be given 2 weeks after the first. If one member of a household has a pinworm infection, all members of your household will need to be treated with medication.

Are Pinworm Infections Contagious?

Yes. Pinworm infections are contagious. Persons become infected by inadvertently eating microscopic pinworm eggs that can be found on many different surfaces, including: bed linens, clothing, food, drinking glasses, eating utensils, toilet seats, bathroom fixtures, toys, and the sand in sandboxes.

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