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How Do People Get Pin Worms?

By Megan Smith ; Updated July 27, 2017

What Are Pinworms?

Pinworms are small, parasitic worms that can infect the intestines of humans and animals. Pinworms are about the size of a staple and look like narrow grains of rice or pieces of thread. Pinworm eggs hatch in the small intestine, then move to the large intestine, where pinworms are able to grip onto the intestinal walls. Once the female pinworms are several weeks old, they move to the very end of the large intestine. At night, the female pinworms come out of the anus and lay eggs around the anus. Once the eggs hatch, the worms crawl back in through the anus or are accidentally passed on to another person or animal.

How Do People Get Pinworms?

Pinworms infect a body when a person accidentally ingests a pinworm egg. These eggs can be located on the fingertips and body of anyone who has pinworms. This means these eggs can be accidentally ingested by anyone who touches a surface that an infected person did and then eats or puts his hand in his mouth. Children can easily get pinworms from one another because they are constantly putting their hands in their mouths and sharing toys and food. You can tell if you have pinworms by looking at your fecal matter when you use the bathroom. If you have pinworms, they will look like white thread or rice in your fecal matter.

What to Do if You Have Pinworms

If you think you have pinworms, go to your doctor. Although pinworms are not entirely dangerous for humans to have, they are a nuisance and very contagious. Your doctor will most likely prescribe a chewable tablet to be taken immediately, called Vermox. He'll instruct you to wait two weeks and then take one more Vermox tablet. Everyone in your family should take the same medication at the same time to prevent reinfection among family members. All family members need to wash their hands thoroughly with antibiotic soap before eating and after using the bathroom. They also need to wear clean clothes every day for the next two weeks to prevent reinfection and recontamination.

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