Have you found what looks like white threads in your child’s poop? It could be pinworms. Eeewwww, you say? Actually, they’re fairly common (pinworm infection is the most common type of intestinal worm infection in the United States) and nothing to be embarrassed by, but they do need to be treated.
People who have pinworms are not dirty — kids can get pinworms no matter how often they take a bath or play in the mud. A pinworm infection happens when you accidentally swallow microscopic pinworm eggs. These eggs can be carried to your mouth by contaminated food or drink, or your fingers (they’re often trapped under the finger nails). Once swallowed, the eggs hatch in the intestines and grow into adult worms within a few weeks.
Pinworms live in the lower intestine but come out at night through the anus to lay eggs on nearby skin. They can cause itching, which can be annoying enough to wake a child at night. Your child’s health care provider can diagnose pinworms by finding them in the diaper or underwear or finding the eggs. Using sticky tape around the anus, the doc can remove a sample then look at it through a microscope to see pinworm eggs. Once found, there is a simple and effective way to get rid of them through medication.
Pinworms spread easily. People can spread the eggs to others directly through hand contact, or through contaminated clothing, bedding, food, or other articles. And the eggs can live on household surfaces for up to 2 weeks. If one person in a family is found to have pinworms, it’s best to treat the whole family.
The most effective way to keep from getting pinworms is to tell everyone to wash your hands often with warm, soapy water before you eat, after you play outside, and after you use the toilet or change diapers. Try to keep your fingernails short and clean, and don’t scratch around your bottom or bite your nails.
Here’s a link to more information.