The Pinworm

The pinworm, also known as the threadworm, is one of several types of roundworms or nematodes and it is the most common worm infection in the United States. The extent of pinworm infections is unknown but various sources estimate as many as one-third of children in the United States are infected at any one time and as many as 210 million people are infected worldwide.

The pinworm is common in temperate climates with a life-cycle of 3 to 8 weeks. An infection occurs when the eggs are ingested. The maturing larvae and worms thrive in the colon and rectum of their host.

After devloping into adults, the female pinworm makes an exit at the anus to expel thousands of sticky eggs. This birthing event causes intense anal-itching that faciliates the hand-to-mouth transmission that typically occurs in young children who scratch. It leads to a new episode of infection and the life-cycle of the pinworm starts all over again.

The light-weight sticky eggs of the pinworm readily cling to clothes and bed-linen and are easily dispersed into the air by the daily scratching and fidgeting of a pinworm's young host. The eggs land on any number of other surfaces where they can survive for up to a week in cool moist conditions until they are picked up by other hosts. Eventually, the whole family gets infected. Reportedly, it is even possible to enhale the tiny eggs as they float through the air. You can imagine how easily this occurs in the crowded conditions of a school room.

Anthelmintic Foods

An anthelminitic is a substance that can destroy or eliminate parasitic worms, especially intestinal worms.

  • Black Walnut
  • Wormword
  • Clove
  • Tansy Tea
  • Hagenia
  • Kaljoni (Nigella sativa seeds)
  • Male Fern
  • Garlic

The Three Worm Herbs

Dating back hundreds of year, there are many references to the effectiveness of Black Walnut, Wormword and ground Clove as treatments for many types of intestinal worms.

Dr Hulda Clark, a controversial Canadian doctor claims that these three herbs taken in combination will eliminate over 100 different types of parasites.

Other Effective Foods

Other foods that are said to be effective against intestinal parasites are watermelon, papaya and pumpkin seeds. Turmeric juice combined with milk is commonly used in Indian to fight and prevent parasites. And Cinnamon is also believed to be an effective deterrent.

Regular consumption of these natural and healthy foods can help prevent a parasite infection.

Keep parasites at bay with Cinnamon Tea.

Symptoms and Treatment of Pinworm

Anal or vaginal itching is the worst symptom of the pinworm especially at night. It can result in sleep disturbance which causes listlessness and irritability. This may explain the personality changes that have been reported by some parents after a child has been diagnosed and successfully treated.

Pinworms may also be the cause of bed-wetting in young girls as the female pinworm may migrate to the vagina in the night.

Doctors may prescribe the drugs mebendazole or pyrantel pamoate which are not recommended for pregant women and very young children. To sooth the itching and to discourage the pinworm from laying eggs, an ointment or cream may also be prescribed.

Diagnosis of Pinworm

Anal swabs taken at night or early morning are examined under a microscope in search of eggs. A single-swab maybe not suffice to make a diagnosis. The parent worm does not emerge every night. A series of swabs over several nights maybe required. The thread-like adult worms are seldom spotted in the stool.

Natural Remedies

There are a wide variety of natural anthelmintic (anti-worm) foods that may be used to treat pinworm but as with the pharmaceutical alternatives the doses required to purge pinworms are also not recommended for pregnant women or young children.

The safest method of treatment is to let the pinworm life-cycle takes its course while implementing a rigorous program of personal hygiene to be diligently practiced by every member of the family. This includes daily bathing and routine handwashing with soap and warm water especially before meals and after using the toilet. A daily regimen of house-cleaning and laundry is also in order. All clothes and bed-linen should be changed and washed daily. Dry heat kills pinworm eggs so use the sun or a dryer to dry the laundry. Clean toilet seats before and after each use. Mop all floors daily, especially bedroom and bath and avoid any stirring up of dust that may serve to scatter eggs into the air. Even if you opt for the prescription drugs you will be advised to follow a similar cleaning regimen for an extended period of time to avoid reinfection

Don't forget to clean your pets. While dogs and cats do not get pinworms the sticky eggs may be found in their fur and pets can be the source of other parasitic worms in particular children acquire the dipylidium tapeworm from dogs.

Dietary Considerations

A diet high in processed flour and sugar is said to feed parasites such as pinworm. A compacted colon is a parasite's delight.

Try Worm Out - a child-safe natural remedy.

Read about another safe natural remedy to expel intestinal worms.

Learn more about other parasites or about the giardia lambia parasite.

Pinworm Prevention

Frequent bathing. Clean under-clothes, pajamas and bed-linen. Routine handwashing with soap and warm water, before eating and especially after using the toilet and touching pets.

Learn more about How to Get Rid of Worms in Humans.

Contributing Editor Gigi Gerow

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