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Pinworm infection in children
Pinworms cause the world's most common worm disease in humans. Children come into contact with these parasites particularly often because they touch everything and often put them in their mouths. Experts explain which symptoms indicate a pinworm infection, how to become infected and what can be done about it.
If children complain of severe itching, occasionally pain in the anus (especially at night) and even small white worms in the faeces, it is most likely an infection with pinworms - the most common worm disease for us, explains the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) on the internet portal "kindergesundheit-info.de".
How to get infected
According to the experts, pinworms are about three to twelve millimeters long and sit on the lining of the intestine. At night the females move out of the intestinal exit to lay their eggs in the folds around the anus - hence the violent itching at night.
According to the BZgA, the infection with pinworms usually takes place via traces of infected faeces, (for example in soil or sand, but also on objects such as toys) that get into the mouth.
In addition, the infection can be transmitted via food that is contaminated with faeces (e.g. lettuce). Children in particular often infect themselves again by scratching their buttocks and then using their fingers to get worm eggs back into their mouths.
Infections are often harmless
Pinworm infections are usually completely harmless - often they are not even noticed. Itching in the anus does not infrequently lead to sleep disorders, which can manifest in daytime tiredness, poor concentration and the like. According to the BZgA, the following complications can also arise:
- In individual cases, inflammation can develop in the intestinal mucosa.
- Scratching can also cause wounds and inflammation or eczema at the exit of the intestine. In girls and women, inflammation can spread to the genital organs and vaginal discharge can occur.
- In cases of particularly severe infestation with pinworms, abdominal cramps or inflammation of the peritoneum can also occur.
Evidence of infection
As the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) explains, doctors usually make the diagnosis based on the symptoms described by the person concerned or the parents. In most cases, the worms in the stool can be seen with the naked eye. Sometimes dead worms can be found in bedding or pajamas. With an adhesive strip, worm eggs can be removed from the area around the anus and then detected under the microscope.
Pay close attention to hygiene
If a child is suspected of being infected with pinworms, a pediatrician should be consulted. It is best to do a tape test beforehand and to put the tape into practice, for example in a sealed glass.
According to the TK, treatment with worm-killing drugs is carried out. The therapy, which usually lasts from a few days to a week, is usually well tolerated. In addition to the worm remedies, some home remedies for worms such as pumpkin seeds or coconut oil can be given as a support. In addition, tight-fitting underwear is recommended at night to prevent the child from scratching.
As a rule, pinworms are advised to carry out deworming for the whole family, as close contacts (possibly also outside the family) are also likely to be infected.
According to the BZgA, it is particularly important to pay very close attention to hygiene in the case of infections with pinworms:
- Frequent hand washing
- Daily change of bed and bed linen
- Wash the underclothes and bed linen at at least 60 ° Celsius
- Cutting the fingernails short
Since the infection with pinworms can also be caused by inhalation of "dust eggs", which are shaken up with the bedding, for example, pinworm infections cannot be prevented one hundred percent, according to TK, even with the best hygiene. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.