Worms are something that is part of many families lives, somewhat like insect bites or nits. Unfortunately, the last year has seen nits and worms make an appearance in our family. The first time in nineteen years of parenting, I may add. It isn’t easy to know what to do when we come across these issues as parents.
My youngest was really restless and had trouble sleeping, which is really unusual for him as he is usually a good sleeper. A quick Google and we found several ideas on what could be wrong but decided to treat the whole family with Combantrin. It is pretty gross to think about worms living in our kids and I am one of those worrier parents (no, not warrior parent, worrier…. as in freaked out worrier Mum) and run around in a flap cleaning anything and everything to get rid of any bugs in the house. Yes, that would be my ocd, perfectionist, virgo self shining through. Yay me!!
Most families with young children have had to deal with worms at some stage throughout their development, unfortunately. As I said before, thinking of wormy things living in our kids is well… really yuk.
Although parents are often embarrassed if their children have worms (*puts hand up*… mee!), they are very common and usually not difficult to treat.
I remember my Mum giving us Combantrin* when we grew up it’s a brand that’s been around for many, many years!
Speaking of going back to school, now would be the ideal time to treat your children if they are showing signs of worms so they can avoid infecting other children when they go back to school.
The most common worm in Australian children is the threadworm, Enterobius vermicularis, sometimes called the pinworm. Infection with other worms such as roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms is less common.
Threadworms are small, white, thread-like worms two to 13mm long. They are most common in children, but anyone of any age can be infected. They are not fussy about who they infect and having them does not reflect on the hygiene of a child’s home and contrary to popular belief, domestic pets are not a source of infection. However children can get different worms from animals, so it is important to ‘worm’ animals regularly for their own health and for the health of the family.
Threadworms are caught when someone swallows the worm’s eggs. The eggs hatch inside the bowel, where they live, then travel out through the anus (back passage) to lay their eggs on the skin there at night time. The eggs may be picked up on the fingers and transferred to the mouth if the child scratches their bottom or doesn’t wash their hands after going to the toilet. However, the eggs may fall off into bedding or clothing, or be wafted into the air, settling on many surfaces in the home or school. They can survive for up to two weeks in the environment and can easily be picked up and cause infection in other people.
Symptoms of threadworm infection include an itchy bottom, irritability and behavioural changes, but most people have no symptoms.
Treatment is easy and affordable. Combantrin* is available over the counter at your local chemist in easy single dose chocolate squares. Make sure the whole family is treated to stop reinfection.
Change bed linen and underwear daily for several days after treatment. Normal hot water washing of clothes and bed linen will kill threadworm eggs. Clean toilet seats and potties regularly
*Always read the label, use only as directed. If symptoms persist, please see your doctor.
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