Where do pinworms come from?
Oatmeal is a parasitic disease occurring only in humans caused by pinworms, or about 1 cm nematodes. Most often they get pinworms young children, especially in preschool and early school age (between 3 and 7 years of age), occurring for several hours away from home in a peer group. Due to the fact that the disease spreads quickly, entire families are most often affected.
You can become infected with a parasite, using a towel, toys of a sick child, sitting on a dirty toilet seat, in direct contact with a sick person (touch, kiss). The eggs of the parasite can live on vegetables and fruits, which is why it is so important to wash them thoroughly before consumption. Unfortunately, the disease can also be brought from the pool, because pinworm eggs can successfully swim in the water. Pinworms can be infected not only through the digestive tract, but also respiratory - pinworms live in air-conditioning devices, they may be in dust (they are lighter).
So many ways of infection makes it's very easy to get infected with them.
Pinworms: signs of infection
The first stage of pinworm infection is asymptomatic. With the development of the disease and the maturation of pinworms, as well as the multiplication of them, usually (but not always) characteristic symptoms appear:
- itchy anus, baby scratching his bottom especially in the evenings and at night,
- in girls - redness and burning of the labia, white discharge (vulvitis),
- restless sleep at night, "wandering on the bed", waking up at night,
- gnashing of teeth (may also indicate other diseases),
- pallor of the skin and bruises under the eyes,
- soaking at night
- problems with concentration,
- lack of appetite
- visible to the naked eye parasites around the anus - about a centimeter long and 4 mm wide, mobile white-transparent threads (rare in the stool) - most often pinworms can be observed at night or in the morning.
- long untreated pinworms can lead to skin lesions around the anus and redness.
Fecal examination for pinworms is usually pointless. The parasite is unlikely to be found in the stool.
The easiest way to verify that your child has pinworms at night is to check the anus area by shining a flashlight on it.
Can you protect yourself from pinworm?
Oatmeal is a disease of dirty hands. It is very easy to move, especially among children who often put their fingers and toys into their mouths, do not sufficiently take care of personal hygiene, forget to wash their hands before meals, after coming from a walk, etc. It is also important to systematically change underwear and wash bed linen.
Diet also has preventive effect. If a child eats fiber-rich foods - cereal, fruit, vegetables, pickled cucumbers, legumes, his intestinal mucosa is normal and immunity higher than for children eating a large amount of sweets and highly processed dishes.
To some extent, the disease can be prevented by remembering hygiene rules. However, there is no method that protects against pinworms 100%.
The infection with pinworm occurs through the invasive form of the parasite entering the digestive system. The child swallows the eggs of a parasite. In the digestive tract, larvae hatch from the eggs and get into the large intestine. They ripen there for 2-3 weeks. Fertilized females get into the anus and get out of it, usually late in the evening or at night. They do this to lay up to 10,000 eggs covered in sticky secretions in the anal area.
The child feels itching, begins to scratch. It is enough for eggs to accumulate on his hands, which, if the hands hit the mouth, lead to re-infection. This mechanism makes fighting the parasite very difficult.
Unfortunately, there is another problem. Eggs can fall on the sheet, cover clothes. After the sticky mucous dries, they can float in the air with the dust. Very easily then they can get on toys or everyday objects.
How long can you get infected with pinworms?
Fighting with pinworms is difficult because the eggs of the parasite can survive outside the human body for 20 days. Infection can occur for 3 weeks. It is a very long time, it is important to pay attention to the cleanliness of the rooms in which the children are staying.
Fighting pinworms requires patience and systematic actions.
If you suspect pinworms in a child, see a doctor. Tell me about your insights. If the doctor confirms your diagnosis after rectal swab (stool test may not show anything), it will be necessary pharmacological treatment. It is true that the drug for pinworms (Pyrantelum) is available without a prescription, but it should not be taken prophylactically, because it is a powerful medicinal preparation.
Treatment should cover not only the child, but also all household members. Taking the drug should be repeated after 7-15 or 20 days (depending on the selected preparation), because the specifics work only on adults, and are not able to eliminate eggs and pinworms that are just hatching from them.
A confirmed case of pinworm should be reported in the kindergarten to which the child attends. Unfortunately, this often does not happen because the topic is considered embarrassing. Reporting cases of pinworms, however, will allow you to put in place measures that will reduce the risk of the infection spreading to other children.