Threadworm Treatment

Threadworms are white, thin parasitic worms, measuring about ¼ to ½ inches in length. The worms are also referred to as pinworms. These worms lay eggs, hatch and infect the large intestines in human beings. In the United States, threadworms are the leading intestinal worm infections, hence the increasing need for threadworm treatment in the country.

The worm lays its eggs under the fold of skin surrounding the anus, as the patient sleeps. While the worms may not have any symptoms, some patients complain of restless sleep and anal itching. Pinworm infection is predominant in school-age children. The microscopic eggs of the pinworms may also be spread from one patient to another.

What Causes Threadworm Infection?

Threadworm infection occurs when the microscopic eggs are swallowed through contaminated food or drink. Once ingested, the eggs hatch in the large intestines and develop into adult worms within a few weeks. After maturing, the females move to the anal region to lay their eggs. This may cause itching in the anal region. If you scratch the itching region, the eggs may get attached to your fingers and nails. You will then transfer the eggs to the surfaces you touch, such as toys and clothes. The eggs may also get transferred to food and drinks, thus infecting other people. These eggs can survive on those surfaces for up to three weeks.

Predisposing factors

  • Young age: Pinworm infection is predominant in the young children, between 5 and 14 years old. The eggs can be spread between the kids and their family members, and even their caretakers.
  • Temperate climate: Threadworm infection can occur under any climate. However, their infection is common in countries that experience temperate climate.
  • Crowded populations: It is very easy for people living in crowded spaces, such as institutions, to get infected with threadworms.

What Are Threadworm Treatments?

Threadworm treatment is aimed at removing the worms and preventing reinfection. In most cases, treatment strategies combine medications and hygienic measures to remove the worms and prevent the spreading of their eggs.

1. Medications

Owing to the high risk of transmission, medication to kill the worms should be taken by everyone in the family if a family member is diagnosed with the infection. However, the medication should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding mothers as well as young children under three months old.

  • Mebendazole

This medication functions by preventing absorption of glucose by the worms. As such, the worms die from starvation within a few days. The drug can be used by anyone above two years of age. You may either take it in the liquid form or in the form of chewable tablets. A 100mg dose is recommended, which may be repeated if reinfection occurs. In severe threadworm infections, this medication may lead to diarrhea and abdominal pain.

  • Piperazine

This medication paralyses the worms, allowing for their natural removal from the body. The medication may be coupled with senna. Senna has a reparative property, which helps the patient to empty his or her bowels easily. The two medications are mostly availed in powder form. The powder is supposed to be mixed with small amounts of either water or milk prior to consumption.

Piperazine is suited for use on small children, between the age of three months and two years. However, it should be administered in two doses, of 2.5ml or 5ml each. The second dose should be administered two weeks after the first one. The medication should not be used by epileptic people or people with kidney and liver problems.

  • Over-the-counter pinworm medicine

When buying such medication, you should insist on the ones that contain pyrantelpamoate, an anthelmintic agent which paralyses the nervous system of the worms. As such, the worms will be naturally expelled from the body along with the stool. The medication should be taken according to the prescription on the label. In most cases, one dose of the medication is enough.

  • Anti-itch cream

Even after eradicating the worms, the itching around the anus may persist. To ease the itching on the region surrounding the anus, you may need to use an anti itching cream. Before purchasing this cream, you should first consult a doctor, regarding the safety of the cream for use close to the anus.

2. Hygiene Measures

How to get rid of threadworms should not be your only concern. Instead, you should also be concerned about how to stop the transmission of the microscopic eggs. Strict hygiene measures will prevent this transmission. Since the lifespan of these worms is about six weeks, these measures should be continued for more than six weeks. The following measures should be observed by every person in the family.

  • After diagnosis, you should wash all the night clothes, soft toys, towels and bed linen thoroughly.
  • Regularly dust and vacuum the house well, particularly the bedrooms.
  • Clean the kitchen and the bathroom carefully using damp-dusting the surfaces.
  • Avoid shaking any material that may be harboring the eggs, such as the beddings.
  • Avoid eating from the bedroom.
  • Keep fingernails short.
  • Discourage thumb sucking and nail biting, even in the small kids.
  • Thoroughly wash hands before cooking and eating and after visiting the toilet.
  • Wear tight fitting underwear at night and change it in the morning.
  • Shower or bath regularly, especially in the morning.
  • Avoid sharing towels in the household.
  • Keep toothbrushes in the closet and rinse them before use.

3. Dietary Changes

  • Include probiotics in your diet

Taking either probiotic capsules or foods rich in probiotic encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive system, hence discouraging the survival of pinworms. You should take two probiotic supplement capsules or include 250 ml of yogurt in your diet every day.

  • Eat more garlic

Owing to its natural anthelmintic and vermifuge properties, garlic may be used to get rid of pinworms, as well as other parasites from the digestive system. As such, it is advisable to increase the amount of garlic seasoning you normally use in your food. Alternatively, you should take garlic capsule about two to three times in a day for a couple of weeks.

  • Reduce sugar intake

To produce energy, the worms have to take in sugars. As such, staying away from sugar-rich and starchy food will deprive the parasites of their energy source. This will in turn starve them to death.

4. Things to Mind

  • For pregnant and breastfeeding ladies

If you are pregnant or nursing a baby, it is not advisable to use medications meant to regulate these worms. Now you must be wondering about how to get rid of worms in such a condition. Well, the hygienic measures alone will be substantial in regulating the worms.

  • For children under two years of age

If a baby (below two years of age) is infected with the worms, you should not administer Mebendazole. Instead, you should just use the hygienic measures mentioned above. You may also approach a doctor for a suitable medication. You should also wash the baby’s bottom thoroughly, yet gently after changing his or her nappy.

  • See a qualified doctor

If you start experiencing pain in the abdominal area or an itching sensation on the vagina or anus, you should see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Everyone close to the patient should be treated

For effective threadworm treatment, all members of the family should be treated. Otherwise, the infection will just be passed from one person to the other.

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