It is common to find worms in babies and in children between five and ten years of age. If you notice that your child has itching on his butt, it could be a sign that he has worms. Fortunately, they are easy to treat. In this article, we will discuss the treatment of worms in child.
They are known as pinworms and are small worms or intestinal worms (4-5 millimeters in length) and white-grayish color. They cause one of the most common parasitic infections when we are children: oxiuriasis or enterobiasis, what we all know as “having worms”.
By itself is not serious, but very annoying, especially during the night that is when the larvae go to the area of the anus to deposit their eggs there (between 15 and 20 thousand daily), causing a great itching that forces to be continuously scratching.
Pinworms only lodge in the body of humans, they do not in any other species of animals, and cause a great itching in the perianal area.
There are 2 types of worms that can live in our intestine: worms (pinworms and ascaris) and tapeworms (not so usual but much more aggressive).
Do not worry if your son suffers from worms, we have already commented that the treatment of worms in child is quite effective and easy. Later we tell you how to eliminate these parasites in children. Do not think that it is due to lack of hygiene, abandonment or dirtiness. Now we will tell you how the worms are contagious.
Causes of worms: How do they get infected?
Fundamentally in 2 ways: from the land directly or through a person who already has them.
The parasite (microscopic eggs) enters the child mostly through the mouth. Once there it goes through the digestive system until they reach the small intestine, which is where these larvae develop. When they are already in the large intestine, these pinworms become adults.
The hands of children are the main source of infection.
The process is the following:
Children play in the sand of the park, in the pool, at school, etc., and that is where the worm eggs are. They end up under the nails of the little ones and when they put their hands to their mouths it is when the infection begins.
They can also be contaminated by poorly washed food or atmospheric dust, although it is less frequent. That is why it is important to take good hygiene because otherwise, those eggs will end up in the house: clothes, toilets, toys, towels and in general everything the child can touch, with the risk of infecting the whole family.
It is a month or two after the infection when the females reproduce and lay the eggs, and usually do so in the area of the anus. When the child scratches and then puts his hand to his mouth everything starts again, so it is a vicious circle and that is why good hygiene and a series of rules to end them are so important, as you will see later.
And also because, as we have said, children who are infected can transmit it to other children or the whole family, since the eggs of the worm are transmitted very easily.
It is important to clarify that the infestation only occurs if the child takes the hands (or the object where the eggs are) to the mouth. That is, the contagion only occurs when the eggs are ingested.
Signs and Symptoms of Worms in Children
We are not always aware that our baby or child has this type of parasite. For this reason, before taking treatment of worms in child, we must be alert to the different symptoms that may arise, among which are:
- Itching, stinging and irritation in the area of the anus and genitals.
- It can be painful if there are many worms.
- They are more frequent when it’s time to go to sleep.
- The child has an uneasy sleep.
- He has nightmares and sleepwalking.
- Fatigue and little appetite.
- On rare occasions, you may have a fever.
- Sometimes the child cannot hold the foot because the itch does not let him control his bladder.
- Bruxism (grinding and clenching teeth).
In girls, the infection can reach the vagina (vaginal itching and discomfort when urinating, so it can often be confused with a urinary infection).
Sometimes, these small worms can also be found in the stool.
In some cases, especially with worms in adults, they may not pose any type of discomfort.
Tests to detect worms in children
The pediatrician will probably use the “tape test” (Graham’s test) to check for worm eggs or worms.
This involves putting duct tape on your child’s anus, taking it out and then placing it on a glass slide.
When the doctor looks at the slide under a microscope in a laboratory, they can see if there are worms.
It is best that you do this test first thing in the morning before you bathe or poop and clean your butt.
Treatment of worms in child
Surely at this point, you are wondering, how to eliminate worms in children? They are easy to treat and are generally not serious.
Your pediatrician will probably prescribe a medicine based on antiparasitic tablets, so you can buy them at a pharmacy. These tablets usually work after one or two doses. It must be clarified that it is not an antibiotic since pinworms are not bacteria.
One of the most used medications is mebendazole.
If your child is diagnosed with worms, you should treat all family members. This stops the spread of the worms. Keep in mind that people at higher risk of pinworms are those who sleep in the same room as the child.
Unfortunately, this treatment does not end with the eggs, so it is very important to repeat the dose two weeks later, which will be when the eggs that hatch.
It is also a good idea to keep your child at home without taking him to school while he has worms, to prevent them from spreading to other children.
While the treatment of worms in child lasts, you can relieve the child’s itching by sitting it in a tub of warm water for about half an hour, about 3 times a day.
Finally, it should be noted that, in addition to pharmacological treatment, it is essential to wash clothes that have been in contact with the child (pajamas, underwear, towels, bedding, etc.) with very hot water and avoid by all means shake it before washing it, because otherwise we run the risk of spreading the larvae and eggs throughout the house.
Prevention of worms in children
There are several ways to help prevent the spread of earthworms:
- It is essential to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially under nails, after using the bathroom and before handling food.
- Cut the nails regularly.
- Try to encourage your child not to scratch around the bottom or suck their fingers (see how to prevent my son from sucking his finger).
- Treat the whole family with antiparasitic tablets when one of them has worms.
- If you or your child has worms, regularly wash clothes and bedding with hot water and soap every day until several days after treatment.
- Clean toilet closures and urinals regularly.