This post is in partnership with Reese’s Pinworm.
How much do you know about pinworms? Pinworms are kind of an icky subject and not frequently discussed, but are without a doubt necessary to know about, especially if you have children heading off to school this year. So what are they anyway?
Pinworms are contagious intestinal worms and look like a piece of thread measuring about ½” in length. They are the most common intestinal parasite in the U.S. and they exist all year.
So how does someone get infected with pinworms?
It’s easier than you might think. Typically, people get infected with pinworms by ingesting microscopic pinworm eggs. These eggs then travel to the intestinal system and hatch. In about two – four weeks, adult female pinworms move from the large intestine to the area around the rectum. The females will lay new eggs which make a person itch and scratch the affected area, often transferring the eggs to one’s fingers. Once the eggs are transferred to one’s fingers, they can be spread just about anywhere.
I’m not trying to scare you, but it’s something we should all know more about because pinworms can live on surfaces. Yes, clothing, bedding, and even objects at your kids’ school. If you touch something contaminated with the eggs and put your fingers in your mouth, the process starts all over again.
Who can get pinworms?
Well, anyone, but pinworm infections occur most frequently in school age and preschool-aged children, as well as institutionalized persons. And, because of the contagiousness, household members and caretakers of persons with pinworm infection are also at risk.
What are the symptoms of pinworms?
- Loss of appetite
- Act restless
- Difficulty sleeping
- Uncomfortable while sitting
- Frequently scratching anal area
If you notice your child or family member with any of the above symptoms, you should suspect pinworm infection.
How can you identify a pinworm?
You can identify a pinworm infection by visiting your healthcare provider or performing what’s called the Scotch Tape Test. Directions to perform the Scotch Tape Test according to Reese’s Pinworm:
Collect anal debris by pressing a piece of tape against the skin around the anus and examine it for the presence of eggs or worms. You should do the tape test in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning before bathing or using the restroom to minimize any disturbance or removal of the eggs.
What to do if someone has pinworms?
I know all this information is a little scary, but there is good news! You can eliminate pinworms with over-the-counter products such as Reese’s Pinworm Medicine, which is an effective treatment. You can pick it up at most major drug chains and independent pharmacies.
Reese’s Pinworm Medicine has been treating pinworm since 1986. It’s safe, doctor recommended, and takes about 72 hours to rid the system of pinworms.
Since it can take 5 to 7 days for itching to stop after treatment with pinworm medicine you might purchase Reese’s Pinworm Itch Relief Wipes. The wipes help keep contact with highly contagious pinworms to a minimum, and come in a convenient, resealable on-the-go pouch for instant relief anywhere.