Pinworm is a type of parasitic roundworm that commonly infects the human gastrointestinal tract, especially in children. The worm enters the body through the mouth and then travels down to the intestines, where it attaches itself to the wall and starts to lay eggs.
The female worm can lay up to 300,000 eggs in a single day. These eggs are then passed out in the stool and can infect other people if ingested. Symptoms of pinworm infection include anal or vaginal itching, restless sleep, irritability, and abdominal pain.
Pinworms are spread through fecal-oral transmission, which means that they are passed from person to person through contaminated food or objects. The eggs can also be transferred directly from person to person, especially if there is poor hygiene.
For example, if someone with pinworms scratches their bottom and then touches a doorknob, someone else who touches that doorknob can get infected if they put their fingers in their mouth. In addition, poor hygiene habits like not washing hands after using the bathroom or not changing underwear regularly can also increase one’s risk of becoming infected with pinworms. Good hygiene habits are essential for preventing the spread of pinworms and taking medication prescribed by a doctor.
If you or your child has been diagnosed with pinworm, a doctor may prescribe mebendazole to help clear the infection. Mebendazole belongs to a class of medications known as anthelmintics. The drug is effective against both adult worms and larvae. Mebendazole works by preventing the parasites from absorbing glucose, which pinworms need for energy. Without enough glucose, the parasites will eventually die.
Mebendazole is available in tablet form. The usual dose is one tablet twice a day for three days in a row. It is best to take the medication as prescribed and complete the entire treatment course to avoid recurrence. The tablets can be taken with or without food.
Side effects from mebendazole are rare and usually mild. They may include upset stomach, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and persistent itching around the anus or vagina. For those experiencing any severe side effects, contact a doctor right away.
It’s also important to remember that mebendazole will not kill all types of worms. For those still experiencing symptoms after completing the entire course of treatment, it is recommended to make an appointment with a doctor so they can prescribe an alternative medication.