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Why Do Kids Get Worms? How To Prevent Worms In Children?

There are many intestinal worms, but threadworm, also known as pinworm, is the most common. The threadworm is a roundworm commonly found in preschool and school-aged children. However, it may also affect the entire family.

A threadworm infection results in a very itchy bottom, which is usually worse at night. In most cases, threadworm infection does not pose a severe health risk to your child and can be treated easily with medication.

How Do Kids Get Worms?

Pinworms are very small, about as long as a staple. After your child touches something contaminated with pinworm eggs, then touches their hands to their mouths, the eggs enter the bodies through the mouth [1].

When the eggs reach the mouth, they pass through the digestive system, hatch in the small intestine, and grow into adult worms. As the pinworms move along the large intestine, they attach themselves to the wall. Female pinworms migrate to the end of the large intestine after a few weeks, and they emerge at night to lay their eggs around the anus, from where poop exits.

After an individual swallows the eggs, it takes approximately 1 to 2 months for the worms to lay new eggs [2].

If someone has pinworms, the eggs may end up on anything the individual touch, such as a kitchen counter, a bed, a desk at school, or even on clothes, towels, or utensils. The eggs can live for approximately two weeks. If they are accidentally touched and then placed in the mouth, one may swallow the eggs without realizing it [3].

Pinworms are easily acquired by children who go to school since they spend a lot of time with other students who may also have pinworms. During play with other children, they may touch something with pinworm eggs and consume the eggs without realizing it. Therefore, there is a possibility that a few of the eggs will end up in the air, where they may be swallowed when you breathe. However, this is not a common method of getting pinworms.

Your child may swallow more eggs if they scratch around the bottom and then put their fingers in or near the mouth if they already have pinworms [4].

How To Know If My Kid Has Worms?

If your child has pinworms, you might see the worms in the toilet after they use the restroom. You might also see them on their underwear in the morning, but the pinworm eggs are too small to be seen without a microscope.

Itching caused by pinworms may wake your child up in the middle of the night and cause them to squirm. Consult a physician if your children are itchy and sore on their bottoms and if you observe worms in their underwear or the toilet [5].

How To Treat Worms In Children?

In children, worms usually are not serious and are easy to treat. However, your paediatrician will probably advise you to give your child antiparasitic tablets, which are available at pharmacies over the counter. You must repeat the dose every two weeks to ensure that all the worms have been removed from your child's system.

You must treat everyone in your household with antiparasitic tablets if your child has threadworms. This will help prevent the spread of worms throughout the household.

In addition, you should keep your child home from school or childcare while they have worms to prevent the disease's spread [6].

How To Prevent Worms In Children?

Infections caused by worms tend to return. Nonetheless, there are several steps you can take to prevent the spread of worms [7][8]:

  • Regularly trim fingernails.
  • Encourage your child not to scratch around his or her bottom or to suck his or her thumbs or fingers.
  • Before handling food, thoroughly wash hands after going to the toilet.
  • When someone in the family has worms, treat everyone with antiparasitic tablets.
  • After treatment for worms, wash your clothes and bed linen in hot, soapy water each day for several days.
  • Regularly clean the toilet seats and potties.
  • You should encourage your child to take a shower or a bath regularly - morning is best for removing worm eggs.
Story first published: Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 15:07 [IST]
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