Threadworm In Kids: Causes, Symptoms And Treatments
Threadworm most commonly affects children under the age of 18 because of the lack of good hygiene habits.
Threadworm, or pinworm, is an intestine-based infection caused by parasitic worms which mostly affects preschool and school-going children under the age of 18. These worms are usually too small to be seen by the naked eye but, parents might notice white thread-like strands in their child’s underwear or feces.
Threadworm in kids is also not a one-time infection if the child has poor hygiene they will get re-infected.
Here’s everything you need to know about this infection:
Threadworm is mainly caused by poor hygiene. The infection rampantly spreads when the threadworm’s eggs are either swallowed or when the female threadworm lays thousands of her eggs around the child’s anus or vagina. This then causes the child to feel itchy near their privates and by scratching this area the threadworm transfers itself from the anus to the fingers of the child. The cycle does not just stop there – the eggs can further spread to clothes, bedsheets, toothbrushes, utensils, and any surface the infected child touches. This is because threadworm eggs can survive up on surfaces for up to three weeks. All this could be prevented if the child practices good hygiene because then the chances of the infection spreading would be slim.
Threadworm in kids may sometime go unnoticed, but the general symptoms are:
- intense itching around the anus or vagina, especially at night when the female worms are laying eggs,
- interrupted sleep because of itching,
- bed wetting,
- tiredness, and
- teeth grinding
Other more severe symptoms are a loss of appetite and weight loss.
Threadworm most commonly affects children under the age of 18 often due to the lack of good hygiene habits. However, parents, relatives, and caregivers are also at a higher risk of getting the infection from the child affected by the infection. So parents have to ensure that all family members are taking the necessary precautions to prevent being infected.
For parents who think that their pets are infected by threadworm—you can rest easy. Threadworms are only spread by humans. Your pets are not the culprit.
The best and most effective way to prevent threadworm is for the whole family to maintain good hygiene.
Other than that parents should:
- ensure children wash their hands regularly especially after going to the toilet,
- keep the kitchen and bathroom surfaces clean,
- cut their child’s fingernails regularly,
- wash all bed linens and mattresses,
- avoid sharing towels with anybody, and
- encourage their child to take showers twice a day
Threadworm infection can be treated with anti-parasitic tablets called mebendazole which kills the threadworms within a few days. Parents with younger kids may also opt for mebendazole in a chewable or liquid form. During this time, all family members also need to take the anti-parasitic tablets even if you are not displaying any symptom of the infection.
For parents seeking natural remedies, you can try applying garlic paste with petroleum jelly or coconut oil to your child’s affected area. However, be warned – these remedies are not recommended as they are not scientifically proven to cure threadworm.
So parents if your child is infected with threadworm, not to worry, the infection is not serious and can be easily treated with medicine. But should you observe that your child is not getting better with proper treatment and medication, be sure to see a doctor.