You have not been properly initiated into motherhood until you have worn a LEGO headlamp, armed yourself with strip of tape and gone on a pinworm safari in your sleeping child’s pants!
On my first such hunt, I was greeted by three pinworms that mockingly waved at me from the crack of my son’s butt! Not to worry though, I showed them! They are now memorialized on the strip of tape in a zip lock bag, in case the pediatrician needed proof!
Since that fateful night I have learned a thing or two about pinworms and how to rid our family of them – almost naturally – and hopefully for GOOD!
(This post was updated in December 2017, since its original publishing date in April 2015)
Over the past months, I have found several remedies that have been effective in eradicating our house of pinworms. Some of these tips may be almost impossible to administer to your kids if they are anywhere near as medicine-adverse as our kids.
Fret not, I have plenty of tricks – so something WILL work. Two things are certain after you read this article: you will know more about pinworms than you ever wanted, AND you will be scratching your behind! You are welcome!Everything you never wanted to know about #Pinworms - Thank me later when you are itchy! #Parenting Click To Tweet
What are pinworms:
- Pinworms are small intestinal parasites.
- They are thin, white and about 1cm in length. They look like a small piece of thread – but WIGGLY!
- Pinworms are MUCH more prevalent among young school-aged children than their itch-inducing cousins: lice.
- Trust worthy pinworm information.
How do you get pinworms:
- Child touches a surface contaminated with the microscopic pinworm eggs: bathroom, kitchen counter, shopping cart – you name it! The possibilities are endless!
- The eggs can live for 2-3 weeks – I know, disgusting!
- Child sticks egg-contaminated finger in his mouth! How often do you tell your child to take their fingers/ a toy/ their brother’s arm out of their mouth?!
- The eggs make their way through the human intestines over the next month. Are you scratching yet?
- The newly hatched female larvae turned worm gets the urge to lay eggs. She crawls out of the anus and looks for nice warm place for the next generation of pinworms.
- It is this nightly anus-migration that causes an insanely uncomfortable and ITCHY feeling, which some kids describe as painful.
- Child scratches his bottom, eggs stick to his fingers… and so the cycle continues! The circle of life, pinworm-style!
As you can see – pinworms have quite a lengthy life cycle, so the key to destruction, complete elimination and continued prevention is PERSISTENCE, REPETITION and a sense of humor.
Your treatment cycle should continue for at least 90 days after initial diagnosis. (I stopped after 60 days – only to have to start ALL OVER again a few weeks later! Yeah me!)
- Anal itching and discomfort.
- Restless sleep.
- Scratch marks on the buttocks.
- Upset stomach.
- Some people have NO symptoms while others have ALL of them.
- Pinworms may be found in the stool. Remember they look like tiny white thread.
- You can go on a safari like I did. But expect to be grossed out beyond your wildest imagination if the hunt is successful.
- Place a piece of tape over the anus at night and look for eggs via a microscope in the morning.
- Bring a stool sample to the doctor. So really – none of these methods are for the modest or faint of heart! Sorry!
- If you are having blood work done and you suspect that you have been exposed to or infected with pinworms, let your physician know. Pinworms will show up on blood work as a parasite infection, and you don’t want to unnecessarily freak out your physician (been there, done that!)
Pinworm Treatments/ Prevention:
Please contact your medical professional before you treat young children with anything – ever, even with “natural remedies.” A medical professional should always be consulted before you start a new medical regimen. Herbs, natural remedies and essential oils can interact or counteract with any prescription medication you are currently taking.
- Pinworms are HIGHLY contagious. Once pinworms have been confirmed in one member of the household, the entire house should also be treated. (Humans only)
- Take the most effective pinworm medication. This is the “unnatural” part of my treatment regiment, but it is highly effective and a great way to KICK START your war on the white wiggly ones. I keep it on hand now, as a part of my mommy-medicine cabinet.
- Treat now, again in 10-14 days, again in another 10-14 days and then monthly for 2-3 months.
How to get rid of pinworms in your home and prevent reinfestation:
- Wash bedding, PJs, towels and underwear separately and in HOT water.
- Use towels only once before washing.
- Put clean bedding on every 3-4 days.
- Change underwear twice daily and PJs daily (this includes yoga pants).
- Wash hands – A LOT – over and over! In warm water WITH SOAP! (Remind your kids several times a day too!)
- Cut fingernails SHORT and keep them short!
- UV rays kill the eggs, so enjoy scarring your neighbors by draping the family’s underwear on all the bushes and branches in your yard.
- Shower as soon as you wake up and before bedtime.
- Do this daily for the first 14 days at least.
Topical remedies :
- Apply coconut oil around the anus. The oil prevents the female from laying her eggs.
- This method used daily for several months will eventually break the life cycle of your parasitic visitors.
- Calendula ointment.
- Tea tree essential oil for anal itching. Follow the recommended diluting dosage.
- Clove essential oil to kill the eggs. Again, remember to dilute as recommended.
- Crush a clove of garlic and apply topically around the anus with Vaseline. This has the same effect as the coconut oil. I mentioned it before – everything about pinworms is humbling!
- Apple Cider Vinegar pills. I have been taking the pills for several months now. They are flavor-free and MUCH easier to take than drinking diluted apple cider vinegar.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract pills. I have also been taking this in pill form.
- Pumpkin Seed Kernels. YUMMY – they are a delicious and healthy snack or in smoothies.
- Probiotics. I open a capsule and sprinkle in the kids’ drinks. They are also recommended as an immune system booster.
- Eliminate or reduce simple carbs and sugars. Uhm – I have not been successful with this. But I HEAR it’s effective!
- Increase intake of garlic in any form.
I have now shared from the “bottom” of my heart about pinworm treatments and tips for prevention. Please know that pinworms happen to the best of us. They are relatively harmless, and they will give you a good reason to talk about butts and poop with your kids!
Did you go on a pinworm safari? I sure hope you wore a LEGO headlamp – it’s the latest rage in pinworm accessories. Now thank me every time you scratch your butt today – I bet it will be a number of times!
While you are busy scratching yourself, let’s add a post about how to treat and prevent head lice:
And we all know that little boys stick their fingers in everything and therefore get pinworms, so here are great tips on raising awesome boys: