(Pinworm Infection in Children and Adults, Enterobiasis)
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Pinworms facts
- What is pinworm infection?
- Who is at risk for getting pinworms?
- Pinworms in children
- Pinworms in adults
- What do pinworms look like (pinworm pictures)?
- What is the lifecycle of pinworms?
- How is pinworm infection spread?
- What are the symptoms of pinworms?
- How is pinworm infection diagnosed?
- What is the treatment of pinworms; is there a home treatment?
- What are the consequences of untreated pinworm infections?
- How are pinworm infections prevented?
- Patient Comments: Pinworms - Experience
- Patient Comments: Pinworms - Symptoms
- Pinworm infections are caused by worm-like parasites that infect humans' intestines and rectal/anal areas.
- Young children and their household members are at risk for pinworm infections.
- Pinworms are visible; they range in size from 2-13 mm, are white, and resemble a worm but the pinworm eggs are small, transparent and can be seen only with a microscope.
- Pinworm infections are spread person-to-person by ingesting pinworm eggs that have contaminated fingers, bedding, clothing or other items.
- The symptoms of pinworm infection are discomfort and itching in the anal/rectal area. Vaginal itching is common in females.
- Pinworm infections are diagnosed by identifying the visible worms around the anal area or by identifying the parasites and eggs microscopically on transparent tape applied to the anal/rectal area.
- There are several medications available to treat pinworms. Some can be purchased without a prescription; most of the treatment is done at home.
- Aside from the discomfort of itching, a few individuals can get secondary bacterial infections, and infrequently, the parasites may invade both the male or female genital tracts.
- Pinworm infections are prevented by good hygiene, hand washing, and sanitization of bedding, clothing, toys, and other items that may be contaminated with pinworm eggs; although it is difficult because the eggs may survive in a moist environment for 3 weeks.
What is pinworm infection?
Pinworm infection is an infection of the large intestine and anal area by a small, white parasite that resembles a "worm." The medical name for the parasite is Enterobius vermicularis, but it is commonly termed a pinworm in both the lay and medical literature. These parasites are also termed seatworms or threadworms, and the infections is medically termed enterobiasis or helminthiasis. Pinworms and other parasitic worms (which, as a group, are termed helminths) feed off of the host animal by adsorbing nutrients from the host animal. Pinworm infections are the most common helminth infection that occurs in the US.
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