- What are Pinworms?
- Transmission of Pinworms
- Diagnosis of Pinworms in Babies
- Symptoms and Signs of Pinworms in Children
- Complications of Pinworms in Kids
- Treatment of Pinworms in Children
- Prevention of Pinworms in Children
What are Pinworms?
Pinworms are a type of aschelminthes, a representative of which – Enterobius vermicularis parasitizes only in the organism of a human. It causes such a disease as enterobiasis. Actually, according to various statistic data, from 25 to 100 % of children get infected with the disease. The thing is that even if a child has pinworms inside his or her organism, the symptoms are not always obvious.
Such like helminthiasis doesn’t cause any strong painful sensations. Only in case there is a really severe helminthiasis, there is a possibility to suspect a child of having these parasites on the basis of a child’s behavior or complaints. The main symptom that will tell you your child is having pinworms is itching in anus. Most often, it occurs at night. That’s why the discomfort caused usually leads to a child’s sleep pattern being disturbed.
Transmission of Pinworms
The helminthes’ eggs get into gastrointestinal tract through oral-fecal mechanism, in case of a touch, in household. At night, while a child infected with helminthes is sleeping, female helminth gets out of the bowel in order to lay eggs near the anus. In case there occurs itching in the anus, a child scratches on the area that itches. Thus, there are eggs of pinworms accumulated on hands and under the nails of a child.
It’s quite logical that after it the pinworms may be passed on to other surrounding people and adults. A child may also get infected with the disease again (by himself) is he or she hasn’t washed hands right away and changed underwear (the eggs are accumulated there as well). The eggs will spread on all the items that an infected child touches – toys, clothes, food, any household items that are around. When healthy children, adults, parents or child supervisors touch these items ore shake hands with an infected child, they also get infected. (see Pinworms in case of adults) If there is a pet at home, there may also be pinworms’ eggs on his or her fur. That’s why it’s necessary to wash hands each time you or your child touches a pet.
If a child doesn’t follow the rules of personal hygiene and doesn’t wash hands thoroughly after he or she has visited a toilet or before eating, pinworms’ eggs can easily get inside a child’s moth and from there to the bowel. From these pinworms’ eggs that are located in the bowel within several days larvae hatch. These larvae grow up and turn into adult species within 2-4 days. Actually, they don’t live long, only 2-3 weeks. If the treatment is adequate and a child follows the rules of personal hygiene, reinvasion (self-infection with the disease) stops and a child’s organism gets rid of the helminthes.
Very often it so happens that parents manage to teach their child to strictly following the rules of personal hygiene only by the time he or she reaches school age. That’s why while a child is still going to the kindergarten where children are in close contact and he or she doesn’t strictly follow the rules of personal hygiene, it’s quite hard to get rid of pinworms. After a child has received necessary treatment, there is no guarantee that he or she won’t get infected with the disease once again only this time because of contact with other children. One of the easy ways to accustom a child and getting him or her motivated to wash hands is using soap in the form of various figures or using colourful soap that looks quite interesting. This way the process of washing hands is turned into an enjoyable game.
Diagnosis of Pinworms in Babies
The main way to detect pinworms in children is enterobiasis scraping. However, it should be mentioned that this method is not used in 100 % of cases in Russia. This is perianal swabbing that is then studied in order to detect pinworms’ eggs. The peculiarity of this test is that it should be made in the morning, before defecation. In addition, it’s forbidden to carry out any procedures of personal hygiene before making the test. It is quite to the point to make the test on the day after the night when a child was complaining about itching in anus and there was a sense of disturbance on his or her part.
If the result of the test is negative, it doesn’t mean that you have no reasons for being worried anymore since the result may be false negative. This happens due to the fact that pinworms do not lay eggs everyday. If you suspect your child of having pinworms and there are complaints about itching in the anus, pains in the belly, there is allergy, dysbacteriosis and eosinophils detected in the blood test result, it’s recommended making the swabbing several times. There is a need to make 3 swabbings over 1 day, then the result will be more reliable.
A usual stool test the aim of which is to detect helminthes’ invasion is not effective in case of pinworms since female pinworm lays eggs near the anus and not in the bowel.
If there is a procedure of visual diagnostics carried out, in rare cases it is possible to detect pinworms as well as scratching marks. The body of an adult pinworm is not more than 10-12 mm in length, it is of white colour. The body looks like a thin stick that has sharp ends.
The procedure of taking swabbing is carried out in 2 ways. It can be done with the help of a strip of adhesive ribbon that is pasted on the skin near the anus and then pasted on a piece of glass. The second way is to use a cotton bud that is soaked in vaseline oil (this method is used more often). The taken material is then either studied right away or transported to the laboratory within 2 hours in order to carry out a microscopic analysis.
Symptoms and Signs of Pinworms in Children
In rare cases, in case there is a severe helminthes’ invasion, pinworms can be seen in the area near a child’s anus or even in his or her stool. However, very often it’s vice versa. On the base of a child’s condition, it’s not always possible to say whether or not he or she is having pinworms. Even an enterobiasis swabbing’s result may be negative irrespective of the fact that a child is infected with the disease. However, sometimes an attentive mother can suspect a child of having pinworms on the basis of indirect symptoms.
These may be the following symptoms:
- The most common and obvious one is itching in the anus.
- Being disturbed at nighttime, a child can hardly fall asleep, move restlessly while sleeping, wakes up very often, screams or cries (in case of small children).
- A sharp decrease of appetite, nausea.
- Sometimes, it’s vice versa. There is an increased appetite and salivation.
- Pains in the belly, very often in the area close to navel.
- Stool disorder – constipation, dysbacteriosis of the bowel, diarrhea.
- Headaches, feeling dizzy.
- A child gets tired very fast, he or she is annoyed and capricious for no reason, his or her face is pale, there are blueish circles under the eyes. There is an opinion (it’s not argued) that one of the symptoms of helminthes is grating teeth at night.
The main symptom of pinworms in children is anus itching and inflammation. It gets worse at night. This is dangerous because in case of a long course of helminthes’ invasion the skin may become subject to bacterial infection because a child scratches it very often. It leads to the inflammation process.
Nausea, even vomiting and pain in the belly occur in case of a severe invasion and constant self-infection. In addition, the symptoms are accompanied by toxic damage of nervous system, since the bigger the colony of pinworms becomes the more toxins they produce. That’s why infected children become annoyed, can’t have good sleep at night and are capricious. Since children get tired very fast and there is a disorder in the functioning of the nervous system, they are not attentive and are behind with studies. If there are pinworms detected, the treatment that includes drugs or folk remedies should be provided immediately.
In case of girls, incontinence of urine (enuresis) is a symptom of helminthes’ invasion. It occurs because is the inflammation of urethra. Pinworms can also get into the privy parts. In this case, girls may have abundant discharges. If a child has been attacked by helminthes for a long time, symptoms of allergic reactions – dermatitis, eczema may occur. In this case, the amount of eosinophils in blood is increased. A long course of helminthes’ invasion may be accompanied by a decrease of hemoglobin, then the face of a child becomes pale.
Complications of Pinworms in Kids
If there is a case of pinworms and treatment is not provided on time, the long course of helminthes’ invasion deprives a child of nutritious elements, minerals and vitamins. The organism is poisoned with toxins and there occur intoxication and allergy. In case a growing organism is subject to a long helminthes’ invasion, the organism is exhausted.
This situation leads to serious complication and consequences:
- Vulvovaginitis – a situation when girls have an inflammation process on the outer privy parts and vagina. It happens when pinworms get into privy parts.
- Oophoritis and salpingitis may start developing when pinworms get in the upper area, into the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
- Such a damage of the bowel as eosinophilic enterocolitis may start developing in case of the disease’s long course and high susceptibility of the organism to the pinworms’ agents.
- Appendicitis – there is an opinion that in case of a high accumulation of the pinworms in the blind intestine it may occur.
- Peritonitis – it may occur if there is a massive infection when helminthes get into the abdominal space through the intestine’s wall.
- Very often it so happens that other parasites (not only pinworms) are the reason for allergies in case of children. Sometimes, pinworms get into the preputial sack of boys bringing in pathogenic microorganisms.
- Severe infection of the urogenital organs that pinworms case in children may lead to onanism, early sexual enticement, balanitis, dysuria and leucorrhoea.
- Children with neurological deviations in case of the helminthes’ long invasion course become even more nervous and annoyed. They lose weight, fall behind in development and height. On the background of enterobiasis epilepsy-like seizures may start occurring.
Treatment of Pinworms in Children
In case your child has pinworms, necessary treatment can only be prescribed by a doctor. Individual peculiarities of a child are taken into account and an exact dosage is prescribed. As a rule, one more course of treatment is recommended within 2 weeks after the first one has been carried out. This is due to the fact that active substances of the drugs, most often, attack only adult species. They are not effective when it comes to larvae and pinworms’ eggs.
Since it’s quite easy to get infected with the disease and there is a high risk of a repeated reinvasion, it’s very important to provide all members of the family (no exception) with necessary treatment. People who often get in contact with the infected child should also be provided with it.
The efficiency of the pinworms’ disease treatment depends on the process of getting the organism of a child ready for taking the drugs against them. This is done beforehand. One day before a child is to start taking the drugs it is necessary to refuse eating foods that can cause constipation, substantial foods, eating dry foods. It’s better to eat soups, sour dairy products, in the evening there should be a light dinner, it’s better be fruit-based.
In the morning, a child is recommended taking a dose of the drugs according to the doctor’s recommendations. In the evening, a child should take purgative in order to get the killed pinworms out of the bowel faster. In order for the recurrence of the disease not to happen it’s necessary to follow the rules of personal hygiene not only during the process of treatment but also later on.
Actually all members of the family and not only a child should follow the rules:
- It is necessary to cut nails on hands short.
- It is recommended to change underwear in the morning and in the evening and also iron panties after they have been washed. The thing is that pinworms’ eggs may stay as they are even in the process of washing. Hot iron can kill them for sure.
- There is a need to thoroughly wash hands after a visit to the toilet and before eating.
- Do not allow your child to gnaw on nails.
- It’s necessary to process the cap of the lavatory bowl with detergent sanitizers as often as it is possible.
- It is necessary to carry out wet scavenging of the flat. It is recommended to carry it out everyday.
- If no rules of personal hygiene are followed, the treatment will have no effect since there is a really high risk of the reinvasion.
If there is a severe case of itching and allergies, it is recommended to take antihistamines. The itching should be fought with not only because of the discomfort it causes but also because there is a risk of skin inflammation development. As a result, the eggs may spread on to the clothes and body.
In case there is a really strong itching, there may be done a micro enema with a light soda decoction – 0,5 of a teaspoon for 1 glass of water. For a child there may be 1-3 glasses depending on his or her age.
When pinworms die most often toxicosis occurs. In order to prevent it (a day after a child has started to take drugs) various enterosorbents may be taken. However, you should do it not earlier than a day after a child has started taking drugs since sorbents will decrease the efficiency of anthelminthic drugs. It is allowed to take sorbents only 1-2 times since helminthes have damaged the process of the microelements’ absorption and enterosorbents will contribute to it as well.
Prevention of Pinworms in Children
Preventive measures are carried out in order to protect your child from the reinvasion of the parasites. It’s much easier to prevent the infection with nematode worms than cure it.
Let’s speak about basic preventive measures:
- Keep an eye on your child so that he or she regularly and thoroughly washes hands. This rule refers to all members of the family since pinworms’ eggs may be under the nails and on hands. There is a need to wash hands after and before eating, after a visit to the toilet, after a contact with pets and after you’ve had a walk.
- Special attention should be paid to intimate hygiene. There is a need to change underwear and wash privy parts as often as possible. This will help keeping perianal area clean and prevent the occurrence of itching in case of the helminthes’ invasion.
- It’s necessary to thoroughly wash and pour hot water over fruits and vegetables. It’s forbidden to drink raw water from the faucet since it may also lead to the infection. It’s not recommended eating raw fish, not enough boiled and fried meat.
- During summertime it’s necessary to not allow your child to swim in strange ponds. It’s necessary to buy insect repellants since insects (that feed on blood) are a source of parasites.
- If you have pets, there is also a need to carry out preventive measures against helminthes for them. Keep an eye on how clean your pets are.
- Do not forget to regularly carry out wet scavenging of your flat since helminthes’ eggs may stay quiet for a long time while being located in dust at home. Carry out disinfection of the lavatory bowel after someone has visited the toilet.
- While changing underwear, do not forget to iron panties, T-shirts and singlets with hot iron.
- Keep an eye on your child’s nails. They are to be cut short since the eggs of the nematode worms may accumulate under them.
Video: How to Treat Pinworms in Children