There are varieties of infections which cause different type of problems in our body. Even though we try to avoid them and take precaution, once in a while they are able to get though our immune system. Children are more vulnerable to most infections. Pinworm is also one such infection which tends to happen to children in their intestine. It is a thin worm infection that cannot be determined in the earlier stage and is hence harmful for our health. Children infected with pinworms do not often know they are infected until the infection spreads in an area and causes dysfunction of some sort. .Today we have Dr. Yashi Malhotra, Clinical Paediatrician from Fatima Hospital, Lucknow who will tell us more about this infectious disease
What Is Pinworm Infection?
A pinworm infection is quite common type of intestinal infection which occurs due to worms. Pinworms are very small almost half-inch or less that lay their eggs around the anus of humans. These pinworms are hard to determine as they are narrow and get through in our clothes. This infection is highly children centric, most common in children between the ages of 5-10 years. It may cause a bit of itching in the area of infection but in most cases children do not come to know about it. In medical terms pinworm infection is known as enterobiasis or oxyuriasis. Fortunately there are treatments and medications available for the treatment of this infection.
Symptoms of Pinworm Infection
People may or may not experience the symptoms of pinworm infection because it cannot be determined easily. The symptoms are also very common that occur in most of the diseases and thus can be taken as any other problem. However if your child has pinworm infection, you may notice these changes-
- Frequent itching or strong itching in anal area
- Having sleepless nights due to itching
- Having pain, rashes or skin irritation the area of infection
- Presence of pinworms in the stool
- Presence of pinworms in area around your child’s anus
- Occasional stomach pain and nausea
What Causes Pinworm Infection?
Pinworm infections are caused because of eggs laid by pinworms near your anus region. Pinworms are highly contagious and hence they spread and infect the child very quickly. As a matter of fact, immune system of children is not that strong hence it is easier for them to get infected. Pinworm infections are caused when the child unintentionally inhale or ingest pinworm eggs which later cause infection in the intestine.
Eggs of pinworms are usually spread on the surface of skin of person been infected. If the child ingests it anyhow, it enters their body and remains in the intestines until the eggs mature. Female pinworms move into the colon and then exit the body at night. Till then the infection spreads and more eggs are laid inside the intestine which increases the infection.
How do Pinworm Eggs Get Transferred?
It is important to understand that pinworms are highly contagious and can spread on the surfaces and remain there for several weeks. When a person scratches the affected area, the pinworm eggs gets transferred on the fingers and whenever the person touches anything like table, bed, toys, toilet seats etc, it gets transferred to those objects. Pinworm eggs can survive under most circumstances for several weeks and hence the rate of spreading infection increases.
Children transfer pinworms easily as they touch many surfaces and put their fingers directly in their mouth. Eggs can also be transferred from contaminated fingers to food and liquids. All this can lead to ingestion and infect many people in the process. If the infection is not treated it can continue for years and cause other major diseases.
Who is at Risk of Developing Pinworm Infection?
Although pinworm infection is affected to all age groups, the majority of people suffering from this infection are largely kids and children. It is because they tend to touch many objects and are highly active. Here are groups that are at higher risk of catching pinworm infection-
- Children who are in pre-school or elementary school
- Family members of people who get infected
- Individuals in crowded accommodations
- Children or adults who do not have proper hygiene on hand washing habits
- Children who tend to such their thumbs or fingers a lot
Prevention Tips for Pinworm Infection
Since pinworm infection is mostly caused by touching and spreading through objects, food and contagious places. It is best to take care of your hygiene and practise these tips for prevention-
- Wash your hands frequently, especially in the morning
- Change your undergarments and beddings regularly
- Wash your laundry in warm or hot water
- Do not scratch or bite nails
- Keep disinfecting the objects of maximum touch
Pinworm infection can be highly contagious and is caused majority of times in children as they are vulnerable to touching objects. This infection is caused in the intestine when the female pinworm lays her eggs and infections starts to grow. A person may or may not get any symptoms of this infection until it becomes too uncomfortable. It can spread through the surfaces, objects, food, drinks or directly from person to person. Pinworm can last up to several weeks on any surface and can restart the process of infection in the whole family. It is hence best to keep proper hygiene and keep washing your hands regularly.
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