How do I deal with a threadworm infection?


Michelle: “Threadworms are tiny parasitic worms that live in the bowel of humans and they're more commonly found in children. The symptoms of threadworms are an itchy bottom, in both girls and boys, and then girls can also have an itchy vagina, as well. The reason they get itchy is because the threadworm lays eggs around a margin of the anus and secretes a mucus, which children are allergic to, which causes that itching sensation.


And that often leads them to wake up more frequently in the night, either complaining of itchiness or just waking up. Threadworm eggs are spread through what we call the faecal-oral route, which means from poo to mouth.


So if a child goes to the toilet and has a poo, doesn't wash their hands well, then the eggs from the threadworm can stay underneath fingernails and then can be passed into the mouth, if the child then touches the mouth before washing their hands.


If you think your child has threadworms, you need to see your GP or your pharmacist and ask for medication to treat your child, but you also need to treat the whole family. There are some other things that you can do to help eradicate the threadworms, including washing all bed linen and towels.


Make sure your children's fingernails are kept short. And, most importantly, practise good toilet hygiene for the whole family, so washing your hands well after you've been to the toilet. You should also bath your child every day and wash around the bottom area. You should also encourage them to wear pyjamas or pants in bed at night and dust well and vacuum well around the house. And also disinfect the toilet seat and the rest of the bathroom. If left untreated, threadworms can cause insomnia, very occasionally weight loss and also bed wetting at night. So it is really important to treat it early and properly.”