Itchy Bottoms-Pinworms

26 Feb

Why does my child have his hand down the back of his pants all the time?

Why does he sit in bed and scratch all night instead of going to sleep?

It could be pinworms.  Yikes!

What are pinworms?

Pinworms are very small worms that live in the digestive tract.  It is the most common worm infection and usually affects school age children.  

It is not uncommon for them to run through a day care or school class.  Of course you won’t know it because it’s not common for parents in the car-pool line to discuss their child’s bottom scratching or worm infections.

How do children get pinworms?

Just like most stomach problems…by eating the eggs that cause pinworms.  After children scratch, they pick up the worms on their hands and then spread them to other children (or their parents but we won’t go there).

Is there a test for pinworms?

There are some fancy tests for pinworms but they usually aren’t necessary.  I typically treat children based on their symptoms alone.  For you over-acheiving parents, you can do something called a “Scotch-tape” test.  The tape is applied around the anus and then you must look at them under a microscope to see the eggs.

How do we treat pinworms?

Pinworms are treated by giving oral medicine.  There is often a dose given and then repeated in 1-2 weeks to treat new worms that have hatched since the first dose.



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