Treatment for threadworms in humans: Threadworms – Illnesses & conditions
Threadworms – Illnesses & conditions
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Symptoms of threadworms
Causes of threadworms
Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are tiny parasitic worms that infect the large intestine of humans.
Threadworms are a common type of worm infection in the UK, particularly in children under the age of 10.
The worms are white and look like small pieces of thread. You may notice them around your child’s bottom or in their poo.
They don’t always cause symptoms, but people often experience itchiness around their bottom or vagina. It can be worse at night and disturb sleep.
Read more about the symptoms of threadworms.
When to seek professional advice
Pharmacy First Scotland: Threadworm treatment from your pharmacy
If you have threadworms you can get advice and treatment directly from a pharmacy. Find your local pharmacy on Scotland’s Service Directory.
Search for a pharmacy near you
If you think you or your child may have threadworms, you can usually treat the infection yourself with medication available at pharmacies without a prescription.
You only need to see your GP if you think you have threadworms and you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you think your child has threadworms and they’re under 2 years old. In these circumstances, the recommended treatment is usually different.
Severe or persistent threadworm infections can cause:
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- skin infection around the anus if bacteria enter any scratches caused by itching – wearing cotton gloves while sleeping may help prevent this
- difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep (insomnia)
In such cases, you should seek further advice from your GP. In very rare cases, threadworms can spread outside the intestine to the urinary tract or liver, or the vagina or womb in girls or women.
How threadworms are spread
Threadworms lay their eggs around an infected person’s anus (bottom), usually at night. Along with the eggs, the worm also secretes a mucus that causes itching.
If the eggs get stuck on the person’s fingertips when they scratch, they can be transferred to their mouth or on to surfaces and clothes. If other people touch an infected surface, they can then transfer the eggs to their mouth.
Threadworm eggs can survive for up to 2 weeks before hatching. If the eggs hatch around the anus, the newborn worms can re-enter the bowel. Eggs that have been swallowed will hatch inside the intestine. After 2 weeks, the worms reach adult size and begin to reproduce, starting the cycle again.
Read more about what causes threadworms.
If you or your child has threadworms, everyone in your household will need to be treated as there’s a high risk of the infection spreading. This includes those who don’t have any symptoms of an infection.
For most people, treatment will involve taking a single dose of a medication called mebendazole to kill the worms. If necessary, another dose can be taken after 2 weeks.
During treatment and for a few weeks afterwards, it’s also important to follow strict hygiene measures to avoid spreading the threadworm eggs. This includes regularly vacuuming your house and thoroughly washing your bathroom and kitchen.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, hygiene measures are usually recommended without medication. This is also often the case for young children.
Read more about treating threadworm infections.
It’s not always possible to prevent a threadworm infection, but you can significantly reduce your risk by always maintaining good hygiene and encouraging children to do the same.
Children should wash their hands regularly, particularly after going to the toilet and before mealtimes. Kitchen and bathroom surfaces should be kept clean.
If your child is infected, encouraging them not to scratch the affected area around their anus or vagina will help prevent reinfection and reduce the risk of the infection spreading to others.
Symptoms of threadworms
Threadworms often go unnoticed by people who have them.
However, they can cause intense itching around the anus (and the vagina in girls), particularly at night when the female worms are laying eggs. This can disturb sleep.
In some cases, you may spot threadworms on your bed clothes or sheets at night, or you may notice them in your stools. The worms look like threads of white cotton and are about 1 centimetre long.
Causes of threadworms
A threadworm infection is passed from person to person by swallowing threadworm eggs.
A female threadworm can lay thousands of tiny eggs around the anus or vagina. The female threadworm also releases mucus, which can cause an itchy bottom.
Scratching the anus or vagina, or wiping them after going to the toilet, can cause the eggs to stick to your fingertips or under your fingernails.
If you don’t wash your hands, the eggs can be transferred to your mouth or on to food or objects, such as toys and kitchen utensils. If someone else touches a contaminated object, or eats contaminated food and then touches their mouth, they’ll become infected.
After the eggs have been swallowed they pass into a person’s intestine, where they hatch. After about 2 weeks the threadworms will have grown into adults, at which point they’ll reproduce and the cycle of infection will start again.
Threadworm eggs can be transferred from your anus (or vagina) to anything you touch, including:
- bed sheets and bed clothes
- flannels and towels
- children’s toys
- kitchen utensils
- kitchen or bathroom surfaces
Threadworm eggs can survive on surfaces for up to two weeks.
As well as being swallowed by a person who touches a contaminated object or surface, threadworm eggs can also be swallowed after being breathed in. This can happen if the eggs become airborne – for example, after shaking a contaminated towel or bed sheet.
Animals and pets
Threadworms only infect humans and aren’t spread in animal faeces. However, there’s a small risk that threadworms can be caught from pets if the animal’s fur becomes contaminated with eggs after an infected person strokes it. If another person then touches the animal’s fur, the eggs could be passed on to them.
Who’s at risk?
Threadworm infections most commonly affect young children because they often forget to wash their hands and they share toys with other children.
People who are in close contact with someone with a threadworm infection also have a high risk of infection. This is why all members of a household need to be treated when someone has a threadworm infection.
Read more about treating threadworms.
To treat threadworms successfully, all household members must be treated, even if they don’t have any symptoms. This is because the risk of the infection spreading is very high.
The aim of treatment is to get rid of the threadworms and prevent reinfection. This will usually involve a combination of medication to kill the worms and strict hygiene measures to stop the spread of the eggs.
The main medication used to treat threadworms is available from your local pharmacy without a prescription. However, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as it isn’t suitable for everyone.
Mebendazole is the main medication used to treat threadworm infections. It can be bought over the counter from your local pharmacy or prescribed by your GP. It’s available as a chewable tablet or a liquid.
Mebendazole works by preventing the threadworms absorbing sugar, which means they should die within a few days.
This medication is 90-100% effective at killing the threadworms, but it doesn’t kill the eggs. This is why the hygiene measures outlined below should also be followed for 6 weeks.
Visit your pharmacist if the infection continues two weeks after treatment. They may recommend a second dose of medication.
In rare cases, mebendazole can cause abdominal pain or diarrhoea, particularly if the threadworm infection is severe.
Strict hygiene measures can help clear up a threadworm infection and reduce the likelihood of reinfection.
The lifespan of threadworms is approximately 6 weeks, so it’s important that hygiene measures are followed for at least this length of time. Everyone in the household must follow the advice outlined below.
- wash all night clothes, bed linen, towels and soft toys when you’re first diagnosed – this can be done at normal temperatures, but make sure the washing is well rinsed
- thoroughly vacuum and dust the whole house, paying particular attention to the bedrooms – this should be repeated regularly
- carefully clean the bathroom and kitchen by damp-dusting surfaces and washing the cloth frequently in hot water – this should be repeated regularly
- avoid shaking any material that may be contaminated with eggs, such as clothing or bed sheets – this will prevent eggs being transferred to other surfaces
- don’t eat food in the bedroom – you may end up swallowing eggs that have been shaken off the bedclothes
- keep your fingernails short – encourage other members of your household to do the same
- discourage nail-biting and sucking fingers – in particular, make sure children don’t suck their thumb
- wash your hands frequently and scrub under your fingernails – it’s particularly important to do this before eating, after going to the toilet, and before and after changing your baby’s nappy
- wear close-fitting underwear at night and change your underwear every morning
- bathe or shower regularly – it’s particularly important to bathe or shower first thing in the morning: make sure you clean around your anus and vagina to remove any eggs
- ensure everyone in your household has their own face flannel and towel – don’t share towels
- keep toothbrushes in a closed cupboard and rinse them thoroughly before use
Children can easily pick up another threadworm infection from friends or at school, so maintaining good hygiene may help prevent reinfection.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women
Medication isn’t usually recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Instead, you should follow the hygiene measures above.
See your GP if you’re more than 3 months pregnant, or if you’re breastfeeding and you continue to experience problems after only taking hygiene measures. In certain circumstances, your GP may consider prescribing medication.
Children under 2 years old
Make sure you wash your baby’s bottom gently but thoroughly every time you change their nappy. Also wash your hands thoroughly before and after changing their nappy.
Mebendazole isn’t licensed for use in children under 2 years of age, but GPs may decide to prescribe it off-label for children over 6 months.
If medication isn’t used, the hygiene measures outlined above are recommended instead.
Threadworms – NHS
Threadworms (pinworms) are tiny worms in your poo. They’re common in children and spread easily. You can treat them without seeing a GP.
Check if it’s threadworms
You can spot worms in your poo. They look like pieces of white thread.
You might also see them around your child’s bottom (anus). The worms usually come out at night while your child is sleeping.
See what threadworms look like in poo
Other symptoms can include:
- extreme itching around the anus or vagina, particularly at night
- irritability and waking up during the night
Less common signs of worms include:
- weight loss
- wetting the bed
- irritated skin around the anus
A pharmacist can help with threadworms
You can buy medicine (mebendazole) for threadworms from pharmacies. This is usually a chewable tablet or liquid you swallow.
Treat everyone in your household, even if they do not have symptoms.
Tell the pharmacist if you need to treat a child under 2, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Treatment might not be suitable and you may need to speak to a GP.
Things you should do at home
Medicine kills the threadworms, but it does not kill the eggs. Eggs can live for up to 2 weeks outside the body.
There are things you can do to stop becoming infected again.
wash hands and scrub under fingernails – particularly before eating, after using the toilet or changing nappies
encourage children to wash hands regularly
bathe or shower every morning
rinse toothbrushes before using them
keep fingernails short
wash sleepwear, sheets, towels and soft toys (at a hot temperature)
disinfect kitchen and bathroom surfaces
vacuum and dust with a damp cloth
make sure children wear underwear at night – change it in the morning
do not shake clothing or bedding, to prevent eggs landing on other surfaces
do not share towels or flannels
do not bite nails or suck thumbs and fingers
Nursery, school and work
If you or your child has threadworms there’s no need to stay off nursery, school or work.
How threadworms spread
Threadworms spread when their eggs are swallowed. They lay eggs around your bottom (anus), which make it itchy. The eggs get stuck on your fingers when you scratch. They can then pass on to anything you touch, including:
- kitchen or bathroom surfaces
Eggs can pass to other people when they touch these surfaces and then touch their mouth. They take around 2 weeks to hatch.
Children can get threadworms again after they’ve been treated for them if they get the eggs in their mouth. This is why it’s important to encourage children to wash their hands regularly.
Page last reviewed: 26 January 2021
Next review due: 26 January 2024
Treatment of worms (helminthiasis) in adults, massage for clubfoot in Ryazan
The topic associated with the presence of worms in humans is quite delicate. The vast majority of people will not suspect infection even if its obvious symptoms are present. The fact is that there is an established stereotype: there is such a pathology as worms in children or in the homeless, outcasts and other individuals leading an asocial lifestyle. In fact, parasitologists declare with full confidence: the vast majority of people are carriers of some kind of worms, or even several of their types at the same time!
Intestinal parasites can be contracted through unwashed hands and from domestic and wild animals. Roundworms – roundworms that can reach a length of 40 centimeters or more – are most often infected through insufficiently well-washed greens and vegetables, and tapeworms – tapeworms up to 10 meters long – by eating infected meat and fish. Pinworms – the most common worms in children – are very contagious, and that is why kindergartens conduct periodic checks on pupils. If they are found, then not only treatment with tablets is necessary, but also careful treatment of the entire room; eggs of worms of this variety can remain a source of infection months after they are isolated by an infected person!
Symptoms of worms in children and adults
Signs of the presence of “settlers” in the human body do not appear immediately after the infection has occurred. This is not surprising – nature itself takes care that the carrier of the parasite is in the dark and does not take measures to expel it. However, after a certain time from the moment the parasite enters the body, the patient may experience such symptoms of worms as:
- itching in the anus;
- skin allergy;
- persistent coryza;
- cough that cannot be controlled by taking drugs directed to treat it;
- stool problems. The accumulation of balls of worms in the intestinal lumen can lead to the development of constipation, while some types of worms in children and adults, on the contrary, provoke the appearance of flatulence and painful diarrhea;
- worms in humans are the cause of a decrease in immunity, which can manifest itself, for example, through frequent colds;
- disorders of the digestive tract, provoked by the introduction of “uninvited guests” into the body, can cause “failures” in the nervous system – for example, provoke the development of bruxism, etc.
If a child has worms, the symptoms of their presence may be as follows:
- both hyperactivity and, on the contrary, lethargy and lethargy, uncharacteristic for a baby;
- profuse salivation, also during nocturnal rest;
- craving for sweets;
- dry – up to peeling – skin, as well as brittle nails and brittle hair;
- soreness – the baby often catches a cold – etc.
Treatment of worms: how to get rid of them?
There is a widespread misconception that there are some universal tablets for worms, which are enough to take one or two times in order to get rid of all the parasites in the body. First of all, to get rid of various varieties of intestinal worms, different medicines are used, the appointment of which should be handled by the attending physician. Treatment is not carried out on the basis of symptoms, but only after the results of the tests reveal the eggs of the worms and determine their specific variety.
It is important to understand that self-medication will not only not help to expel “uninvited guests” from the body, but it can also be dangerous! Tablets from worms are not vitamins: they contain highly toxic substances in their composition, which, if used improperly, can greatly harm a person!
Are you interested in the price of worm treatment in Ryazan in our private clinic? Give us a call and book an appointment with a therapist!
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Treatment of worms and helminthiasis in St. Petersburg. Prevention and treatment of helminthic invasion.
Helminthiasis is a parasitic infection of the gastrointestinal tract (pathogens – helminths, worms), most often associated with poor hygiene (dirty hands). Parasites can also enter the human body through undercooked meat and fish, where they lay their eggs (Tapeworms). Therefore, the best prevention of worms is high-quality washing of hands, fruits, vegetables and prolonged thermal exposure when cooking fish and meat products.
At the initial infestation, helminths do not cause severe symptoms and can be inside the body of a person unnoticed by him. But with a weakened immune system, the presence of parasites can be dangerous, as various complications arise. Therefore, it is necessary to start treatment of worms in children and adults as early as possible.
Various worms can exist in our digestive tract – tapeworms, roundworms and flatworms. Each type of worm lives in certain organs of the body:
- Chainworms (bovine, porcine), nematodes (roundworm) – in the large intestine;
- Pinworms – in the large intestine;
- Trematodes – liver, biliary tract;
- Echinococcus – in the liver, when released, the larvae pass into other organs.
In addition to damage to the tissues of the human body, helminths have a negative effect due to the release of metabolic products and intoxication of the body, which can cause allergic reactions up to anaphylactic shock. Extremely dangerous is the defeat of helminths of the brain, eyes and heart.
Symptoms of worm infestation
When infected with helminths, symptoms appear within the first week in case of ascariasis or after a few weeks in other types of parasites. Allocate acute and chronic phase of helminthiasis. Manifestations of the acute phase do not depend on the type of parasite and are caused by an allergic reaction of the body to a foreign body (larvae).
The main symptoms are:
- Eruptions on the skin;
- Temperature increase;
- Pain in muscles, joints;
- Abdominal pain;
- Gritting of teeth during sleep;
- Nervous excitability;
In a child, helminthiasis can manifest itself in the form of tonsillitis, bronchitis, conjunctivitis, hepatitis. Therefore, if symptoms are present, examination and, if necessary, treatment of helminthiasis in children should be carried out.
Enlargement of the liver and spleen may be observed. In blood tests in patients, the content of eosinophils increases and the ratio of the amount of blood proteins is disturbed.
The manifestations of the chronic phase in the absence of treatment depend on the type of helminths, their location and type of nutrition. In addition, in this phase, the presence of parasites leads to a decrease in the body’s defenses and the person becomes vulnerable to various viral and bacterial infections. Prolonged infection is accompanied by a decrease in body weight with a good appetite, a constant feeling of hunger, weakness, and morning sickness.
In ascariasis (pinworms), the most characteristic manifestation is prianal itching, intestinal obstruction, nervousness, headache, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain and anemia are possible.
In addition to the intestinal group of parasites, there is the so-called extra-intestinal group of representatives of flatworms that affect the lungs, eyes, liver, and abdominal cavity.
Among the protozoan unicellular human parasites, a group of giardia can be distinguished that lives in the human small intestine and causes giardiasis.
Diagnosis of helminthiasis
To diagnose helminthiasis, a general practitioner, infectious disease specialist or parasitologist, first of all, issues a referral for stool analysis to determine the eggs of parasites. In addition, appoint:
- Blood test for detection of antibodies to helminths;
- Scraping for enterobiasis;
- Intestinal contrast radiography.
Treatment of helminthiasis
The main method of treatment and getting rid of parasites is deworming, that is, taking antihelminthic drugs. Treatment of helminthiasis in St. Petersburg should be carried out strictly under the supervision of a doctor.
Many people try to heal themselves. A popular “home” method of treating helminthic invasion is the use of herbs. But such methods are not effective, because they do not allow to remove helminths from the body completely.
In addition, if the infection is caused by parasites that can move throughout the body, the use of herbs can have dangerous consequences, since local exposure to such drugs can provoke the movement of helminths to other organs.
Therefore, the treatment of helminths should be prescribed by a doctor after a thorough examination.
There are two groups of antihelminthic drugs. The mechanism of action of the first is based on the defeat of the neuromuscular system of parasites, as a result of which they lose their ability to move and are excreted from the body. These types of drugs act on active mature forms and help treat worms in adults and children in the early stages of helminth development, but do not act on larvae moving in tissues.
The second group of anthelmintic drugs affects the metabolism of the parasite – it prevents the absorption of glucose and leads to its death. Preparations of this type act on eggs, larvae and adult forms of intestinal parasites.
Combination preparations can also be used, as in the treatment of tapeworm.
The exact dosage of the medicine chosen by the doctor is very important, as medicines can cause side effects such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and dizziness. Hypersensitivity reactions (rash, itching) are extremely rare.
In addition, many antiparasitic drugs in the treatment of helminthiasis have limited effectiveness or cannot be used in young children (usually under 2 years of age), drug treatment of helminthiasis in pregnant women is just as dangerous (as it can lead to serious damage or death of the fetus) and nursing mothers.