How to Fight Oxyuriasis in Children
Little ones can get infected very easily with oxyuriasis. Therefore, parents must take the necessary steps to avoid oxyuriasis in children.
In this article we’ll share with all you need to know about this condition.
Oxyuriasis is a common disease that occurs during childhood and it can be very unpleasant.
This parasitic intestinal infection is also known simply as worms or pinworms. The scientific name for the parasite is Enterobius vermicularis.
A child can get infected through the inhalation or ingestion of protozoan cysts, eggs or worm larvae. Although it’s an unpleasant condition, it doesn’t pose serious health risks.
How does a child get oxyuriasis
It’s completely normal for a child to get worms at some time in their development since they’re prone to infections.
After entering the mouth, ingested eggs go through the digestive system. They stop in the small intestine while the larvae continue to the large intestine.
After a few weeks, the female worms move forward towards the end of the digestive system and then leave the body during the night to lay their eggs.
Thanks to a special secretion, the eggs adhere to the margins of the anus and the skin around it.
This is how children cyclically infect themselves by scratching the area and then putting their hands in their mouths.
This condition usually lasts between one and two months. Worms can easily be seen in the child’s feces since they can reach around 10 millimeters in size.
They’re usually white and have an elongated shape.
Symptoms of oxyuriasis in children
Pediatricians use the Graham test to confirm oxyuriasis in children. The main signs of this condition are pain and itchiness around the anal or genital region.
This kind of discomfort usually occurs during the night when the worms come out of the anus.
When suffering from this condition a child may present the following symptoms:
- Issues sleeping
- Constant nightmares
- Sleepwalking (in some cases)
People who are infected are advised to bathe in the morning to eliminate the eggs that were deposited in the anal region during the night.
How to prevent oxyuriasis in children
Since infections caused by oxyuriasis can occur easily, so it’s important for parents to take certain actions that can significantly reduce its propagation.
With these simple measures, you’ll be able to prevent your child from being infected. If the child already had worms in the past, you can prevent them from reappearing.
- It’s important to wash hands thoroughly. This is especially important before eating and after going to the bathroom or changing diapers. This should become a daily habit.
- Clean fingernails with a brush.
- Children should maintain short nails. This will prevent them from hurting themselves when they scratch. It will also prevent the accumulation of eggs under their nails.
- Don’t bite fingernails.
- When dealing with babies, it’s important to clean the diaper area properly.
- Change their underwear daily.
- After confirming an oxyuriasis infection with your pediatrician, you should wash their clothes and bedsheets with hot water. You should also disinfect the toilets at home.
- Don’t allow your baby to play in areas of the park where dogs might have been.
What treatment should be followed in order to eliminate oxyuriasis
There are very effective treatments that can be used to eliminate these annoying worms.
Although they aren’t difficult to treat, if treatment isn’t carried out properly, infections may reappear.
The baby’s pediatrician may recommend antibiotics that can kill the pinworms after a single dose.
But there is no medication to eliminate eggs that have already been laid.
That’s why children can get re-infected and infect other people in the house.
The medication should be repeated two weeks after the initial treatment in order to prevent re-infection.
When a child is infected, everyone in the house should get treated for the condition.
“Due to the high rates of infection, it’s very difficult to control oxyuriasis or pinworms in daycare centers and schools”
We should pay special attention to how the baby is feeling.
If they present symptoms of intestinal infections, consult their pediatrician and follow the necessary instructions to treat them.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Kang WH, Jee SC. Enterobius vermicularis (Pinworm) Infection. N Engl J Med. 2019 Jul 4;381(1):e1.
- Wendt S, Trawinski H, Schubert S, Rodloff AC, Mössner J, Lübbert C. The Diagnosis and Treatment of Pinworm Infection. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2019 Mar 29;116(13):213-219.
- Iguchi S, Hirai Y, Ainoda Y, Isoda N, Miura H, Egawa H, Yamamoto M, Kikuchi K. Incidental diagnosis of oxyuriasis through a colonoscopy. IDCases. 2016 Mar 7;4:38-40.
- Ondič O, Neubauer L, Sosna B. Extraintestinal oxyuriasis – report of three cases and review of literature. Cesk Patol. 2014 Jul;50(3):152-4.