What are they?
They are very common in children and are easily spread. You may see them in the poo as tiny white threads or around the anus. The worms usually come out at night causing extreme itching around the anus. If the worms move forward they can cause pain and itching in the vaginal area. They are often associated with irritability and waking at night.
You don’t need to stay off school, nursery or work with threadworms.
How to treat?
You can buy the medicine to treat threadworms over the counter in any pharmacy. The treatment is a single dose and it is important that everyone in the family is treated, regardless of having any symptoms.
Tell the pharmacist is you need to treat a child who is under 2 years old or if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
How do I stop reinfection?
It is important to know the medicine kills the worms but it doesn’t kill the eggs. Eggs can live for 2 weeks outside the body. Threadworms spread when their eggs are swallowed. They lay eggs around the anus, which make it itchy. The eggs get stuck on your fingers when you scratch. They can then pass on to anything you touch and if someone else touches the surface and touches their mouth they will be infected.
Things you can do to stop this:
• Good hand washing particularly before meals and after using toilet or changing nappies
• Rinse toothbrushes before using them, clean any changing surface
• Bathe or shower every morning
• Wash bedding, sleepwear and soft toys (at normal temperature)
• Make sure children wear underwear at night and change next morning
• Don’t share towels
What can I do to help?
Threadworm infection is not serious but causes unpleasant itching if untreated. Some children have repeated episodes despite treatment. If this happens it is important to seek medical advice as a second dose of the medicine 2 weeks after the first may be necessary.
How to contact us
Unit 9, Eastgate Office Park
Bristol, BS5 6XX
Tel: 0117 93408063
t: 0300 124 5300*
Date of creation: January 2018
Date of review: January 2020