Pinworms are small, ivory colored parasites which affect the intestines. They are commonly found in children and spread very easily in crowded areas like day cares, schools, hospitals and orphanages. Adult worms thrive in large and small intestines.
The female worms lay their eggs in the anal region in the night and are commonly found on the first stool in the morning. They are acquired through contaminated food and water, dusty areas, as well as human contact with the infected person. The infection can spread to the entire family within a very short time.
Sometimes, children may not show any symptoms of pinworm infection at all. But the most common symptom is excessive itching in the anal and the vaginal areas. This results in restless sleep, irritability and insomnia. The itching becomes worse at night since the female worms migrate to the area around the rectum in order to lay their eggs.
The best way to detect these worms is generally 2 or 3 hours after the infected person is asleep. The other symptoms include poor appetite, hyperactivity, nervousness, bed wetting in children, stomach aches, nausea and vomiting. If found within the appendix, pinworms can cause acute and chronic inflammation.
Since the worm is very contagious, the entire family needs to be careful of acquiring the infection through common surfaces like bed linens, clothes, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, sheets, walls, and carpets. The infected person should strictly avoid handling food items common to the household as the food items can easily get contaminated with the eggs.
It is advisable to follow good hygienic practices and consistent self-care to avoid worm infection.
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