Prevent pinworms in kids and adults
There are numerous things in life no one wants to experience, not even once, but definitely not twice. Let’s make a quick list of some of those items: an IRS audit, kidney stones, the 80s fashion and then there’s of course: PINWORMS.
When I talk to other moms and mention pinworms, (don’t ask me why that topic comes up in so many of my conversations) either the mom has no idea what those nasty white parasites are, or they have experienced them and do NOT want any part of another encounter.
With four school-aged boys, we have had our share of pinworms, but before you make a mental note to never get together with our family EVER, please note that we have managed to treat and cure them each and every time.
My secret weapon is to ALWAYS keep a bottle of Reese’s Pinworm Medicine on hand. Yes, if you are my neighbor and experience a late-night pinworm emergency, feel free to knock on my door, I’ve got you covered.
Over the years I have learned what to do AS SOON AS the kids exhibit signs of a pinworm infection and I know how to successfully treat them. Thank goodness. Since it’s been a few years (knock on wood) since they last paid us a visit, it’s safe to say that I also know how to prevent pinworms – and it’s THOSE tips I want to share with you!
How to prevent pinworms, not only in kids but also adults.
Yes, you too, the adult, can get pinworms! I am sorry to tell you, but pinworms don’t discriminate against age or gender, they love any host body willing to ingest their microscopic eggs. (I know, super gross!)
Before we get started, let’s just review a few important pinworm fun facts!
The life cycle of a pinworm:
- Microscopic eggs are ingested by an unsuspecting human.
- Pinworms can only live in humans. They cannot be contracted by your household pet.
- The eggs travel into the intestines where they remain until they hatch, which takes about 3-4 weeks.
- Once hatched, the female pinworm makes her way through the intestines to lay her eggs in the skin folds of the carrier’s anus.
- It’s the presence of pinworm eggs around the anus that causes the tell-tale symptoms of “itchy bottom” and irritation.
- The infected person reacts to the commotion in their backside by scratching the area, which may cause the microscopic eggs to get trapped under their nails or on their fingers.
- The eggs are easily transferred to other surfaces like door knobs and counters when the infected person merely touches those areas with their “dirty” fingers.
- Pinworm eggs can remain dormant on surfaces for up to three weeks.
- Remember, they are microscopic, so there’s no way of telling if an area is contaminated or not.
- The cycle of the pinworm infection is easily repeated if the host ingests additional pinworm eggs found on their hands or under their nails.
- A healthy and happy pinworm can live approximately two months causing some stomach upset along with the nightly symptoms of pain and itchiness in and around the anus.
Now that we are clear on HOW pinworms spread, we can look at the best ways to prevent an infection in the first place, or ways to contain an infection from spreading far and wide.
10 pinworm prevention tips:
- Wash your hands in warm water and with soap after handling money, being out in public, using the bathroom, changing diapers, helping potty train children and as soon as you wake up in the morning.
- Wash your hands before eating and preparing or handling food.
- The single best way to prevent pinworms is having EXCELLENT hand hygiene! Teach your kids and adhere to a strong hand washing regimen yourself.
- Clean door knobs, toilet seats and counter tops with disinfectants.
- Wash toys, especially for teething children frequently in a vinegar and water solution.
- Keep fingernails short.
- Use a nail scrubbing brush to keep nails clean.
- Discourage nail biting, thumb sucking and biting on pencils (or any other object for that matter!)
- Shower in the morning after waking up to remove any pinworm eggs that may have arrived overnight.
- Discourage shared baths if a pinworm infection is suspected for up to three weeks after treatment with Reese’s Pinworm Medicine.
- Change underwear every morning and wear clean pajamas at night.
- Wash clothing, bedding or towels possibly exposed to pinworms or pinworm eggs in hot water and dry on “high heat” setting.
- Keep rooms well-lit with sunlight during the day. Pinworm eggs are sensitive to sunlight exposure.
Are there any other tips or tricks you would like to share to help families combat pinworms? If so, please leave them in the comments below.
Before I let you go, I want to reassure you that just like kidney stones and bad fashion, pinworms happen. Pinworms are not an indication of the level of hygiene in your home or your ability to parent. The eggs are microscopic and obviously not something you purposefully serve your kids for breakfast.
In my 13 years of parenting, I haven’t encountered a topic more riddled in senseless shame and taboo, which is why I talk about it so openly. I am PROUD to partner with Reese’s Pinworm Medicine as they have saved my sanity and my kids’ bottoms every single time we were infected with pinworms. Also, it was the medicine our pediatrician recommended instead of the overpriced prescription medication.
As soon as you finish reading this post, do yourself a favor, click this link to buy a bottle of Reese’s Pinworm Medicine just to have one on hand. Consider it an “insurance policy” against pinworms.
Don’t miss our other pinworm posts to get all your pinworm-related questions answered!