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HealthInfo Canterbury


Threadworms (also known as pinworms, or just worms) are a common type of parasite (living thing) that can live in the bowel. Anyone can be infected by threadworms, but they're most common in school-aged children.

Often there are no symptoms, but threadworms can cause intense itching around the bottom, which is where female worms lay their eggs. This especially happens at night. You might notice your child scratching their bottom a lot, or they might tell you it's itchy.

How are threadworms treated?

You can treat worms with a medicine called mebendazole, which you can get from your GP or directly from your pharmacist. It's sensible to treat the whole household to prevent threadworms spreading or coming back.

When and where should I seek help with threadworms?

You should see your GP if the symptoms continue after treatment with mebendazole.

How can I avoid spreading threadworms?

To reduce the risk of spreading threadworms, practise good hand hygiene. This is especially important after going to the toilet, and before handling and eating food.

If you prepare food, make sure you wash and dry your hands well first. Follow this food safety advice.

Wash underwear, bedclothes and bed linen regularly.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2018.


Page reference: 49701

Review key: HITHR-49701