In the world there are 500 million people who have to deal withossiuriasi, intestinal parasitic infection which mainly affects children of school and pre-school age. According to estimates, 1 in 4 children contract Enterobius vermicularis, the parasite responsible for this infection. L'World Association for Infectious Diseases and Immunological Disorders (WAidid) explains how to recognize it, prevent it and treat it.
Worms in children (pinworms): photosgo to the gallery
Tiny threadlike animals belonging to the nematode group: whitish, no longer than one centimeter, very thin and difficult to see with the naked eye. They are pinworms, the ...
Symptoms of pinworms
- intense itching
- often abdominal pain, diarrhea and restlessness
- in the most acute cases, anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency and uro-genital disorders
Intense itching, felt in the perianal area especially during the night, is the main symptom that must arouse suspicion. To accompany him, often, too abdominal pain, diarrhea and restlessness. In the most acute cases, moreover, anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency and uro-genital disorders may appear.
Read also: Worms in children (pinworms): what they are, how they are taken, how they are treated
The risk factors
The risk factors are mainly due to the lack of basic rules of hygiene, such as washing your hands before eating and after going to the bathroom. In addition, other triggers are i undercooked or raw foods, especially meats, or those not washed properly, such as fruit and vegetables. The high contagiousness pinworms also compromise the health of the parents. For this reason, following some precise precautions is essential for the prevention of this infection and to avoid contagion, once a person within the family or a group has been infected.
The diagnosis: how to recognize pinworms
If pinworm is suspected, it is good to inspect the anal and perianal area as soon as you wake up: in the early hours of the morning, in fact, it is possible to detect the presence of small white filaments in motion (female pinworms) which lay eggs during the night, when our body is at rest. It is precisely the movements made by the female pinworms that cause the itching. The larvae born from hatching can go up to the colon or, following the rubbing caused by the itching, pass to the hands and mouth. The contagion, therefore, occurs via the fecal-oral route. In girls, pinworm larvae can also reach the private parts causing vaginitis.
It is also useful for diagnosis also carefully observe feces and underwear, in which it is possible to ascertain the presence of pinworms. To confirm the infection, then, is the scotch test, an investigation that is performed by applying adhesive tape on the anal area so as to be able to collect, in the eventuality, the offending eggs, to be deposited on a slide and subsequently examined under a microscope. Samples, at least three, must be collected upon awakening.
Once diagnosed, pinworm infection it must be treated through the administration of drugs that are able to eliminate the parasites in their vital form, but not the eggs. For this reason, it is necessary to administer two doses, the first of which at the time of diagnosis and the second after two weeks in order to eliminate the eggs. Despite treatment, pinworm infection can recur, especially if the second dose is taken late or if the infection was caught by more than one person in the same group. Sharing towels, bed linen, bathroom fixtures, but also toys among the little ones increases the risk of contagion exponentially.
For this, WAidid indicates some simple rules to prevent infection and contagion:
- wash your hands thoroughly before handling food
- avoid consuming undercooked meats or raw fish
- wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating them
- do not leave food out of the fridge for more than two hours
- wash underwear, sheets and towels at high temperatures (at least 60 °) and separately from other clothing
- sanitize bathroom fixtures, counters and kitchen tables
- make sure that the child does not bring the toys close to his or her mouth
- ensure that kindergarten / school mates do not use their child's games during the infection period
- make the child wear cotton panties throughout the period to relieve the itching
- locally apply an ointment that can relieve itching
- 1-2 children years