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Pinworms

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Home Treatment

For people with pinworm infections, home treatment is very important to prevent reinfection and the spread of infection to other members of the household. Good home treatment includes the following measures:

  • Wash hands carefully and often. Frequent hand-washing by all family members, especially before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet, is very important in preventing the spread of infection. Hand-washing will help remove eggs that may have stuck to the hands. Scrubbing your hands and fingernails for 1 minute is recommended.
  • Control scratching.Itching around the anus caused by a pinworm infection usually occurs at night. Wearing gloves may help prevent scratching.
  • Keep fingernails short. Pinworm eggs can get under the fingernails when the person with a pinworm infection scratches. Cutting the nails short may help prevent eggs from sticking under the nails. Discourage thumb-sucking if your child has a pinworm infection.
  • Wash clothes and bedding. Washing underwear, pajamas, and bedding and drying them in a heated dryer on the first day of treatment may help prevent reinfection. Changing and washing underwear and pajamas at least once a day may also help prevent reinfection.
  • Bathe carefully and every day. Make sure the skin around the anus is cleaned when bathing. This will remove pinworm eggs. Bathing in the morning may help get rid of a lot of the eggs. Showers may work better than baths because there is less chance of getting water that contains pinworm eggs into your mouth.
  • Do not fan the bedding of an infected person. Fanning the sheets and blankets of an infected person can put pinworm eggs into the air. Airborne eggs can be swallowed when you breathe through your mouth.

Some doctors recommend extra housecleaning, such as frequent mopping and vacuuming and cleaning the toilet seat after each use, to prevent the spread of pinworms, but other doctors do not believe that these measures are very effective.

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Preventing the spread of infection is especially important in households that include children younger than 2 or pregnant women, because they may not be able to take medicine for pinworms.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 02, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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