A pinworm is a small, thin, white roundworm called Enterobius Vermicularis that sometimes lives in the colon and the rectum of humans. While the affected human sleeps, female pinworms live on the intestine through the anus and deposit their eggs on the surrounding skin.
Pinworm is very common in school aged and preschool children as well as household members and caretakers of persons with pinworm infections.
Symptoms are usually mild and some infected people have no symptoms.
- Itching around the anus
- Leading to difficulty sleeping and restlessness
The pinworm infection can be spread by the fecal-oral route, that is by the transfer of infective pinworm eggs from the anus to someone’s mouth, either directly by hand or indirectly through contaminated clothing, bedding, food or other articles.
There are medications used to treat pinworms: There is prescription and over the counter medications that can be taken. The over the counter medication is not always reliable. In households where more than one member is infected or where repeated, symptomatic infections occur, it is recommended that all household members be treated at the same time.
You can help protect yourself by washing your hands often with soap and water especially after using the restroom, changing diapers and before handling food. Hand hygiene with soap and water is preferred as alcohol based hand sanitizers have limited effectiveness against pinworms.
Students don’t need to be excluded for pinworms.
Find more information on pinworms from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).