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To ensure that pinworms are eliminated all members of the household must be treated
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What Are Pinworms And Are they Contagious?
Pinworms (Enterobius vermicularis) are the most common intestinal parasite in the U.S. Pinworms occur most often in school-age children, but are highly contagious, and can easily spread to the entire family and to classmates of infected children. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control CDC), pinworm infestation is twice as common as head lice, and some sources estimate as much as 20% of the U.S. population is affected annually with pinworms. It is estimated that pinworms infect more than 600,000,000 (six hundred million) people throughout the world each year, and in many areas of the world (e.g., North America and Europe) it is the most common nematode parasite of humans.
Adult pinworms live in the large intestine; males and females are about 5 mm and 10 mm long, respectively. After copulation the males die. When the female is ready to lay eggs she crawls out of the anus and deposits the eggs on the perianal skin; a single female can produce more than 10,000 eggs. After laying her eggs, the female also dies. At body temperature the eggs develop quickly and are infective (contain 3rd stage juvenile worms) in about six hours. Pinworm eggs can survive for 2 to 3 weeks in bedding, clothing, carpeting, etc. When ingested by another person the eggs hatch in the small intestine, and the juvenile worms grow into adult, sexually mature worms in about a month.
There is evidence that Dientamoeba fragilis, a "protozoan parasite" of humans, is transmitted among humans in the eggs of pinworms. Thus, pinworm and Dientamoeba infections may occur simultaneously. Pinworm infections are detected by finding the eggs or worms on the perianal skin. If the perianal skin is carefully examined using a flashlight the worms may be seen; they literally "glow" under the bright light. Because the female pinworms lay their eggs during the early morning hours, it is the child's parent who must examine the perianal skin for the worms. Understandably, finding pinworms on your child's perianal skin is not something a parent soon forgets. Eggs on the perianal skin can be detected by using a piece of clear cellophane ("Scotch") tape attached to a wooden applicator stick, sticky side out. The tape is then pressed against the perianal skin and later examined for eggs by your physician or health department. This is best done as soon as a child awakens.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pinworm Infestation?
Some individuals show no symptoms of pinworm infestation, or may experience mild gastrointestinal upsets. A common symptom associated with pinworm infections is anal itching. Scratching of the perianal skin to relieve the itching can lead to bacterial infections that result in more itching, etc. This cycle can result in a situation where the person infected with pinworms becomes very uncomfortable. Children infected with pinworms often undergo behavioral changes including restlessness, irritability, and insomnia. In women, the adult pinworms can enter the vagina and cause additional irritation.
Are Pinworms Contagious In Humans?
Pinworms are highly contagious! The eggs are infective within a few hours of being laid, and they are deposited directly on the perianal skin. Bed linens, clothing, carpets, etc., can be contaminated with eggs. The infected person's hands will, invariable, be contaminated with eggs, providing a route for reinfection and egg dispersal (even into the classroom). It is for this reason that if one member of a family is infected for pinworms, the whole family is treated. If one school age child is infected, it is recommended that his/her classmates be treated as well. Others at risk of pinworm infection include nursery and daycare workers, and those providing care in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Here's How To Eliminate Pinworms
The best way to treat pinworms is to use the only available over-the-counter pinworm medication... Reese's. Formerly available by prescription only, FDA approved Reese's is now available OTC and may be purchased online only from licensed U.S. merchants. Reese's is a pleasant, caramel flavored liquid pinworm medicine that usually requires only a single dose to eliminate pinworms. Because pinworms are so highly contagious, all family members and others in close contact to the infected person should be treated. Dosing is according to patient weight... while several children can be treated with a single bottle of Reese's, if there are two or more adults, two bottles may be required. Because reinfestation from existing pinworm eggs in the home is possible, many families will do a follow-up pinworm treatment at two weeks to insure elimination.
Why do I have to treat my whole family?
Labeled instructions should be followed exactly. It is estimated that about 20% of the population may have pinworms at any given time, and while some family members may not have symptoms, they may be the source for infesting and re-infesting other family members. The eggs are microscopic and easily airborne, leading to infestation by inhalation and ingestion. The Merck Manual (and other current medical literature) uses some very strong language in recommending that the patient's entire household be treated. Everyone should be taught or reminded of the importance of good hygiene, specifically thorough hand washing after going to the restroom or playing outdoors before meals. Bed linens should be changed and washed, carpets and upholstery cleaned, and any previously worn clothing should be washed before wearing again.
Safe... Reese's pinworm treatment is very well tolerated and safe when used as directed. The active ingredient in Reese's... Pyrantel Pamoate, works within the intestinal tract to eliminate pinworms and their eggs. Reese's works within 24-48 hours, and does not readily pass into the bloodstream. Formerly available by prescription only, Reese's liquid is FDA approved and now available in the United States over the counter from Drugstore.com. If you suspect a case of pinworms, Reese's can eliminate the problem... exclusively available from Drugstore.com.
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Pinworm Cycle In Humans