Pinworms in Babies

Pinworms in Babies

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Children are often susceptible to many illnesses as they grow up. Pinworms in toddlers and babies are very common but can be easily treated. The intestinal parasite that causes a pinworm infection is also called as threadworms or seatworms; they affect adults and children alike, but the infection doesn’t take long to clear out.

What is a Pinworm Infection?

To break it down for you, pinworms are small white-coloured worms that can range in length from 2mm to 13mm long. They look very similar to dental floss or very thin white cotton thread (hence called threadworms). They are highly contagious through direct contact with objects or persons that are contaminated with either the worms or its eggs.

How Does Pinworm Infection Spread?

Once your child has been infected, the female worms get right to work while your baby is sound asleep. The worms enter the intestinal tract, latch on to the skin surrounding the colon and around the rectum and lay eggs.

The eggs of pinworms can survive outside the human body for up to three weeks. It is hence very easy for a healthy person to catch the infection if someone in the family has it. Extreme measures need to be adopted to prevent this: while a quarantine may not be possible, it is strongly advised to not share and touch any belongings of the affected person. Also, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly, with a strong antiseptic soap, after you are done tending to the affected person.

Causes of Pinworm in Infants

Infants will easily catch a pinworm infection if an adult in the same household has also got it. Here’s how it might happen:

  • Being in direct contact with any contaminated object.
  • Ingesting food that may be contaminated.
  • Breathing in the eggs that might be latched on to clothes or sheets. This can happen when the infected item is being shaken.
  • Itching, especially around the anal region, could cause your child to pick up pinworm eggs through their fingernails.

Symptoms of Pinworm in Babies

Parents, if you’re doubtful that your baby has contracted pinworms, look out for these signs and symptoms.

  • Disturbed sleep and fussiness caused due to itching around the anal region.
  • Bacterial infection increases the chances of pinworms due to excessive itching that causes skin breakage around the anal region.
  • In girls, pinworms can affect the vagina causing vaginal itching and/or discharge.
  • In some cases, excessive pinworms infection in the intestine can lead to nausea and vomiting. Pinworms can cause nausea and vomiting in rare cases.
  • The chance of appendicitis, which is extremely rare, could occur due to the blockage of the appendix by pinworms.

If you notice any other severe symptoms, consult your child’s paediatrician immediately.

Concept: Threadworm infection

How are Pinworms Diagnosed?

Here are some ways in which you can inspect your baby if you suspect a pinworm infection:

  • Use a flashlight to check around the anal region. Since the worms lay eggs at night, checking in the morning is ideal.
  • Checking the surface of your child’s faeces or the vaginal tip can prove helpful.
  • Using transparent tape, gently press around the anus to see if your child has been infected. Since pinworm lay eggs around that region, it will be easy to identify the infection.

Pinworm Treatment for Babies

In the case of your child contracting Pinworms, you should look out for symptoms like itching and disturbed sleep. A serious infection can lead to severe problems, so getting it under control is the main priority.

The doctors will suggest the following procedures for your child and family just to be on the safer side. It is essential to follow them diligently.

  1. Drugs: Consumption of ‘over the counter’ medications like Mebendazole, Pyrantel or Albendazole to eliminate the pinworms is common. However, check with your paediatrician for a suitable dose.
  1. Repetition: Since the medication will kill pinworms in a week, the course must be repeated two weeks later to kill any pinworms that may have hatched from the eggs laid earlier.

Tips to Follow if Your Baby Has Pinworm

It is not always recommended to opt for allopathy to treat babies. Here are a few other things you can try:

  • As instructed by the paediatrician, follow the medical treatment for your little one.
  • Every morning, ensure your child is bathed as this will help in the removal of the eggs laid overnight.
  • During a diaper change, ensure you wipe and clean your baby thoroughly every time.
  • Keep your surroundings clean to prevent recurring infection. Cleaning the house and washing all clothes, sheets, and towels in hot water can kill Pinworms and its eggs.
  • Disinfect your child’s toys with soap and hot water.
  • Since pinworm eggs are sensitive to sunlight, ensure that all your curtains and blinds are drawn to bring in plenty of sunlight.

Effective Home Remedies for Pinworm in Babies

There are home remedies for pinworms in your toddler when they are infected that can help your little one. Just ensure to check for allergies before you can implement them.

1. Garlic: Garlic has the potential to eliminate pinworms inside your baby’s intestinal tract.

2. Grapefruit seed extract: is known to regulate bowel movements, aiding in properly flushing out the pinworms from your child’s system.

3. Coconut oil: has antibacterial and antiviral properties that are a good remedy to help with your child’s pinworm infection.

Coconut oil for threadworm infection

Pinworm Infection Follow Up

Pinworm infections may recur. You may try home remedies, but it is also suggested that your child is properly dewormed and is take for a checkup with their paediatrician.

What Happens if Pinworms in Babies are not Treated?

Since a pinworms infection is a serious one, especially in toddlers, it must be treated immediately. If not, they have repercussions such as the following:

How to Prevent Pinworm in Infants?

  1. Cleanliness can help prevent pinworms. Keeping your child’s nails short and clean can do the trick.
  2. Bathing in the morning can help get rid of the eggs laid overnight.
  3. Keep track of your child’s diaper and underwear. Changing diapers at regular intervals and daily change of underwear is a must.
  4. Get plenty of sunlight into your child’s room and around the house. It helps eliminate pinworm eggs.
  5. Try and prevent your child from biting their nails or sucking their fingers.
  6. Keep your hands clean as Pinworms is a contagious infection. Wash your hands constantly.
  7. Ensure your child’s hands are washed before eating and after using the toilet.
  8. During the recovery period, ensure you wash all clothes, linens, and towels in hot water.
  9. Toilet seats must be cleaned on a daily basis to prevent worsening the pinworm infection.
  10. Ensure that your child is infection-free before they can interact with any other children.

There are many infections your child can pick up, and Pinworms can cause a lot of discomfort in your child. It must be treated as the earliest with all the necessary precautions and remember prevention is always better than cure!

Also Read: How to Deworm Your Kid