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Pinworms in Babies – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

5 min read
Pinworms in Babies - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Pinworms in Babies – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

In the early years of life, a child’s body is in the process of building immunity. Thus, it is quite susceptible to a lot of infections and diseases during this formative period. One of such intestinal infection that is pretty common among the babies and toddlers are pinworm infections. As a parent, you should be more concerned about this parasitic infection. But even though it is not a pleasant experience to watch the scrawling worm protruding from your toddler’s anus under the bright light of the examining room, there is nothing to worry about pinworm infection. It is easily treatable. There are several home remedies for deworming. Continue reading to know more about this common worm infection and ways to treat it.

What Are Pinworms?   

These worms are small and white. They usually infect the intestine. Their length varies and can lie anywhere between 2 mm to 13mm. These worms are minute when compared to a tapeworm that resembles ribbon and grows up to 25 meters if it remains undetected for 25 years. The eggs lay by these worms, and the infections themselves will spread quickly from person to person or from infected surface to the person making it highly contagious. Pinworm is also known as threadworm.

Can Babies Get Pinworms?       

Usually, babies who are not big enough to crawl and who solely depend on breast milk are at zero risks of ingesting pinworms and their eggs. Therefore it is not that common among this group of babies. However, they can contract this infection:

  • From the school going sibling if touch the baby without washing the hands.
  • If the baby inhales the egg
  • If the baby contact with the infected toy.

How Do Babies Get Pinworms?  

Though most babies do not get pinworms, some do. This is because of the lack of proper hygiene around the baby. As the baby starts drinking water, crawling on all fours, and eating foods that are solid, their exposure to worms increases. This is because of 2 reasons:

  • Especially because the eggs of pinworms have a life of up to two weeks.
  • Toys, objects around the house infected with the worms will prove to be contagious. The worms enter the body and lay the eggs.
  • When babies scratch their bottom (which is merely a reflex) and then put their fingers in the mouth, the whole life cycle of the pinworm repeats.

How To Tell Your Baby Has Pinworm?

When the worms enter the body, they move from the stomach area and towards the anus and vagina. Here they cause severe itching and irritation. This more often happens during the night. Here are common signs of pinworm infection in babies:

  • Itching in the anal area is the typical sign of the pinworm infection. Therefore, troubled sleep without any relevant grounds can be a sign of pinworm infection.
  • In baby girls, itching in the vaginal area, with or without discharge, can be an indication of pinworm infection (pinworm that protrudes from the anus can get into the vagina).
  • In baby girls, pinworm infection can also cause urethral inflammation, which is followed by incontinence of urine.
  • Pain in the naval region can also be an indication of pinworm infection.

How To Diagnose Pinworm In Babies?   

Firstly, check for these symptoms. Then if you are sure that there are worms in your baby, take a flashlight and check for the worms in the morning in your baby’s anus, vaginal area, or in the nappies or stools of the baby. While examining the anal area, ask the baby to push as if he is doing potty. This will help you to examine the anus clearly.  Look carefully for one or more white thread-like worms, which are around 4-12 mm long (similar to dental floss). Scotch tape test is another method to diagnose pinworm. In this test, you have to fasten a transparent tape to the anal region and then remove it. Now the eggs in the anal area get attach to the tape. The doctor will examine this tape for confirmation.

What Are The Treatments For Pinworms In Babies?  

The Treatments For Pinworms In Babies

The Treatments For Pinworms In Babies

A not so serious case of the pinworms is bound to let go soon without much intervention. But if it is somewhat more severe, the itching and the infection is going to come in the way of restful sleep for your baby. Thus, as soon as you suspect something, reach out to a doctor.

  1. The treatment they will give will most likely be medications you can get from your local drugstore. They can be pyrantel, albendazole, etc.
  2. Because pinworms are highly contagious, all family members may also be asked to follow the treatment as well.
  3. After the first round of treatment, your baby will be prescribed the same medicines about fourteen days later. This is to wipe off the worms that may still inhabit the baby’s body.

How To Treat Pinworms In Your Baby At Home?   

Treat Pinworms In Your Baby At Home

Treat Pinworms In Your Baby At Home

Apart from following the instructions given by your doctor and giving your baby all the medicines on time, there are a couple of other things you can do to aid in the treatment.

  1. The general principle here is to maintain hygienic surroundings and curb any means of the worms spreading. You can do this by adequately cleaning your baby’s anus and bottom during every diaper change.
  2. Cleansing all the things your baby interacts with on a daily basis, like toys, bedspreads, pillows, covers, cushions, table legs, etc. on a regular basis and with the use of proper detergents is vital.
  3. Keep in mind that pinworm eggs do not survive under the right amount of sunlight. So, keep those windows and blinds open and let the sunshine in.

Home Remedies To Treat Pinworms In Babies   

The two common home remedies for treating pinworms in your baby are garlic and oils from coconut etc. But please do not let these be your entire treatment plan. Go to the doctor and get prescriptions for sure.

  1. Fungi and bacteria are often decreased and fought off by the properties present in garlic. You can infuse garlic to your baby’s diet. Be it in soups, oatmeal, rasam, etc. It adds a rich flavor and fights the pinworms, too!
  2. In order to ease the constant itches, your baby is experiencing, apply, and massage the affected areas with a mixture of castor oil and coconut oil. It is going to give your baby some respite from the itching.

 Pinworm Follow-up       

There are often recurred instances of pinworms in babies even after the treatment. As soon as you observe the symptoms again, go to your doctor in order to start the treatment process in the early days itself.

What Are The Consequences Of Untreated Pinworms?

As mentioned, the main consequences that come with pinworms left unattended to and untreated are as follows:

  1. The itching
  2. The vaginal discharge
  3. Bedwetting.
  4. It can also cause diarrhea.

Not only this, as the baby is infected, it can spread to virtually every other object and person inhabiting the house or coming into contact with them.

How To Prevent Pinworms In Babies?

Follow the given points to prevent Pinworms in Babies:

  1. Maintain hygiene.
  2. Wash the baby’s things properly.
  3. Cut their nails and prevent them from scratching themselves too much.
  4. Stop the baby’s habit of inserting hands and finger into its mouth

Conclusion
Pinworms really irritate your baby and disturb their sleep as well. Take them to the doctor as soon as possible if you find any symptoms. Moreover, make sure you adopt healthy hygiene practices and habits around the house.

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