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Pinworms in Children

Pediatrics and Child Health

Pinworms in children are relatively common, and can occur in any child who is exposed. Pinworms are an internal parasite that are usually relatively harmless, although they do cause discomfort. They are spread by human-to-human contact and you can get pinworms by coming into contact with someone else who has them. The symptoms of pinworm primarily include itching around the rectum, especially during night time, as the female pinworm will come out of the body and lay her eggs.

Pinworms in Children

Although pinworms can occur in children of any age, and even in adults, they are most common in children who are between the ages of five and ten. Children can catch pinworms easily through contact. The female pinworm lays eggs around the anus and rectal area, and each worm can lay around 10,000 eggs over the course of her life. These eggs can become caught under the fingernails when a child itches the area, and can then be spread to anything he touches. The eggs can also get into clothing or onto bedding and can be spread through contact with the infected item.

The adult pinworms live for around three months inside the child, and rarely cause any major health problems. They live within the small or large intestines, migrating to the anus to lay their eggs. They can be treated with a course of antibiotics once you have your child properly diagnosed, so it is important to watch for the signs and symptoms of pinworm in children.

In addition to itching around the rectum, other signs of pinworms in children include urinary infections if the worms migrate into the vagina. This too can lead to itching in the vaginal area. Pinworms can also be seen at night time on a child's bottom and can occasionally be seen in a child's stool. A piece of tape can also be attached to a popsicle stick and placed, sticky side out, next to your child's anus to identify pinworms in children. Your doctor can then identify whether the eggs on the tape are pinworm eggs.

Because antibiotics are the most common treatment for pinworms in children, your doctor may decide to treat your child based on reports of symptoms alone if the case of pinworms cannot be confirmed conclusively by the scotch tape test. Pinworms in children do not generally show up in blood tests, so being vigilant of the symptoms is the best and only way to determine if your child has the parasite.

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