Your Local Pharmacist is

Jay Koovarjee

 92 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000
ph: (02) 9221 0091
fax: (02) 8880-8326

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:: In Brief


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:: Worms

Healthy Children & Teens - Worms - Threadworms - Pinworms
  Healthy Children & Teens

There are many types of worms found in children.  The most common are Threadworms.  Threadworms are tiny, very thin white worms up to 13 millimetres long that live in the intestine and around the anus (bottom). They are also called pinworms. They look like small threads of white cotton, hence their name. They are widespread in Australia. Although people of any age can get them, children are the most susceptible.

Where do they come from?
Threadworms produce large numbers of microscopic eggs. These eggs are present in house dust and stick to clothes, carpets and bedding. They can also be transmitted through contact with a person who is already infected with worms. It is very easy for people to ingest the eggs because the worms produce so many of them and they are so small.

After the eggs have been ingested they pass into a person’s small intestine (bowel) where they hatch and mature. A few weeks after hatching out these worms can reproduce — usually about a month later. When the worms are fully grown, the female comes out onto the skin around the bottom at night and lays eggs. At this time, symptoms may develop, including the classic one of a severe ‘itchy bottom’. The worms can also often be seen on bowel movements or around the anus especially at night.

Signs & Symptoms

Some children have no symptoms at all, but some of the other signs of threadworm infection your child may show are:

  • Itchy bottom, especially at night
  • Tiredness
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Teeth grinding
  • Feeling unwell
  • Bedwetting
  • Nose rubbing
  • Loss of appetite


Medication is available to kill the worms and this is usually prescribed for the person who is infected and all other members of the household. Usually, one dose is followed up with a second dose two weeks later to take care of any surviving worms.

Zinc cream or mild antiseptic cream used around the bottom at night and in the morning can help with itching.


Threadworms do not go away by themselves, and people do not build up immunity to them, so they must be treated in order to eradicate them totally from the body.

Suggestions to treat and prevent another infection include:

  • All family members should wash their hands and nails thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after going to the toilet, after changing nappies, before preparing food and before eating food
  • Discourage scratching of the bottom and nail biting
  • Keep fingernails short
  • Wash all sheets, bed linen, pyjamas and sleepwear in hot water to kill any pinworm eggs
  • Shower rather than bathe for several days after treatment, to dislodge any remaining eggs from the anal region
  • Snug underpants fitted to children at night may make it harder to scratch, therefore reducing the risk of eggs transferring to fingers
  • Clean the toilet seat regularly with disinfectant (remember to store the disinfectant out of reach of children)
  • All family members should take the medication, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms

Further Information:

Ask Your Pharmacist about:

  • how to treat worms
  • tablets and medicines to kill worms 

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