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Pinworms - Topic Overview

How are they treated?

You can treat pinworms with over-the-counter or prescription medicine that kills the worms. Treatment can help keep you from getting infected again and from spreading the infection to other people.

You will probably need two doses, 2 weeks apart. That's because the medicine kills the worms but not the eggs. The second dose will kill any worms that hatch after the first treatment.

Pinworm medicine may not be safe for children younger than 2 and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. So to reduce their risk of infection, a doctor may recommend that all other household members be treated with medicine.

Call your doctor if:

  • Medicine hasn't cleared up the infection.
  • The medicine is causing side effects.
  • You have new or worse symptoms.

How can you keep from spreading pinworms or getting them again?

Pinworms spread easily and often come back. To reduce your chances of spreading the infection or getting infected again:

  • Wash your hands carefully and often. Teach your children to do the same, especially after they use the toilet and before they handle food.
  • Keep your fingernails short, and don't scratch the itch. Wearing gloves at night may help prevent scratching.
  • Bathe or shower every day.
  • Don't share or reuse towels or washcloths.
  • Change your underwear and bedding each morning.
  • Wash clothes, bedding, and towels regularly. Dry them in a hot dryer.

If anyone in your household gets pinworms again, the whole family may need to take medicine.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 30, 2012
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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