There are so many different factors to consider when facing most of the common parenting issues.
The Nurse Judy approach is a combination of many years of medical experience, a desire to treat things as naturally as possible, a large dollop of common sense.
things considered, in the big scheme of things there are a lot of worse
things that can happen, but you are certainly entitled to give a big
groan if this is happening to you or one of your family members.
The Pinworm (Enterobius vermicularis if you want to impress folks the next time it comes up in conversation) is the most common worm infection in the USA.
The target age range is for the primary infection is children between the ages of 5 and 10.
kids are usually the culprits bringing it home, but it is really easy
for the pinworms to spread among family members if you live in close
quarters and spend any snuggle time in the same bed.
Animals do NOT get pinworms, but they can carry them around on their fur and spread them that way.
The most common way for a person to get infected is by ingesting (or inhaling) the eggs.
eggs can live out of the body for up to 3 weeks. If you happen to touch
a surface that is contaminated and then put your fingers in your mouth
or handle food...tag you're it.
The eggs are way too small to be seen by the naked eye, but can be seen under a microscope.
It takes between one of two months after the exposure for the symptoms to appear.
eggs mature into the worms.They are very small, white and threadlike.
They live in the intestine and gradually make their way down the GI
tract until they are close to the anus.
The male worms die fairly quickly, but the female worms make their way out of the of the body and lay the eggs on the anus.
They tend to do this at night. One theory is that the body temperature is a little higher at night and this drives them out.
is common for children with pinworms to wake at night. Children that
are old enough to communicate may tell you that they are itchy or that
their butt hurts.
Little girls might have itchy vaginas or vaginal discharge. Some kids just have mysterious tummy aches.
Diagnosis is done several way. Sometimes you can actually see little wiggling things in the poop
(You can just imagine the calls I get when that happens...), but it isn't usually quite so easy.
Some folks suggest putting a piece of scotch tape across the anus and
looking in the morning to see if there is anything stuck on it. I prefer
the actual look and see method.
suggest that a parent to go check in the middle of the night. Make sure
that they go to sleep with a very clean butt, perhaps take a good bath.
your child has been asleep for several hours, take a flashlight and
spread the butt cheeks far enough that you can actually visualize the
your child ahead of time that you are planning on doing a butt
inspection, so that if they wake up they are not going to be startled.
Pin worms will look like little white threads. They will likely be moving.
Once the diagnosis is made, most folks opt to treat.
The medications do not kill the eggs, just the worms, so they should be taken initially and then repeated in about two weeks.
is an over the counter medication called Pin X. I have had patients
have some success with this. It works about half of the time.
(which is fine if you are in the right half)
used to count on a prescription medication called Vermox/ Mebendazole
as our standard treatment,but for some mysterious reason that is no
longer manufactured and thus no longer available at most drugstores.
Luckily the 450 Sutter pharmacy will compound it. (They are a terrific resource, they even deliver!)
Their cost for the 2 dose treatment varies.(updated 1/21/2015) Unfortunately the prices went up recently:
$60/ liquid (they would put it in a small amount, probably less than 1 teaspoon. There is also a $10 delivery charge
other option is a prescription medication called Albendazole (albenza)
which can also be quite pricy. This also only comes in a tablet so it is a
bit challenging for younger kids