Pinworm Infection (Threadworm Infection, Enterobiasis)
Also known as Enterobiasis or Threadworm Infection, Pinworm Infection is caused by the Enterobius vermicularis, an intestinal worm. The pinworms are whitish in color and are relatively small, approximately a centimeter long. They inhabit the human rectum. The adult female pinworm travels from the intestines to the anus and expels eggs onto the skin surrounding the anus while the infected individual sleeps.
The symptoms of a Pinworm Infection when the female pinworm lays eggs. Pinworm Infection can be asymptomatic. When symptoms do manifest, they tend to be mild. Pinworm Infection can disrupt normal sleeping patterns, cause irritability, and make the skin around the anus itch. Particularly severe infections can cause a decreased appetite and a sense of restlessness.
Pinworm Infection is the most prevalent type of infection by worm in America. Children are more vulnerable than adults. When an infection occurs in a child, it tends to spread to more than one member of the child’s immediate family. Day care institutions and schools are at risk. There have been instances of such settings reporting over half of their population getting Pinworm Infection.
Once pinworm eggs are deposited onto the skin around the anus, they become infectious in a couple of hours. As the eggs contaminate the surrounding environment, usually bed sheets, clothes, or carpet, they remain alive and infectious for up to two weeks. Accidental consumption of the eggs results in transmission of the infection.
Diagnosis of Pinworm Infection may require a scotch tape test or a pinworm paddle. These objects are applied to the anal area and eggs adhere to the scotch tape or the pinworm paddle. The eggs are then examined via microscopy for diagnosis. Tests are best done in the morning so that eggs are not removed from bathing or from bowel movements. Your doctor may need more than one sample. In some instances, eggs can be found beneath fingernails from scratching the anal region. In exceptional instances, eggs can be found in the urine or the stool of a patient. It may also be possible to discover adult worms during the night.
Treatment of Pinworm Infection requires medication. Your doctor may prescribe a two doses taken two weeks apart. There may be over the counter options available, as well. If an infection reoccurs, it is important to find out where the infection keeps coming from. Family members or school friends may be spreading the infection. Families should all be treated together if one member becomes infected. More than two doses may be required for full recovery.
Transmission of Pinworm Infection can be prevented by bathing in the morning to get rid of any eggs that could contaminate the environment. Wear clean underwear every day and wash your pajamas and bed sheets frequently. Keep your blinds and curtains open during the day because sunlight can destroy eggs. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers. Keep your fingernails clipped and avoid putting your hand near your mouth. Avoid scratching your bare anal region. Keep the house clean and vacuum often. Institutions with lots of children should screen for pinworms.