|Message from Monroe County Schools Nurses: Pinworms - Common Children's Health Issue
Pinworms infect over 40 million people in the United States annually. Anyone can get pinworm. In fact, it is three times more common than head lice. It spreads easily from person to person. The infection begins by swallowing highly contagious and nearly invisible pinworm eggs. Pinworms are spread when a person scratches his/her bottom. The pinworm egg sticks to fingernails. The person touches an object and leaves the egg there. Another person picks up the egg when they touch the object. If the person touches his/her mouth, then he/she may swallow pinworm eggs and become infected, too. Pinworm infections are spread when sticky eggs are left on household objects such as clothing, bed sheets, bathtubs, toilet seats, kitchen counters, school desks, toys, and other shared items and surfaces. People with pinworm infections may not show any signs at all. When signs do occur, any itchy backside is common. Other common symptoms are disturbed sleep, restlessness, and irritability.
To avoid an infection, you should do the following:
* Wash hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water.
* Cut fingernails short and avoid nail biting.
* Change and wash underwear, pajamas, towels, and bed sheets daily.
* Clean and vacuum all living and sleeping areas.
* Disinfect doorknobs, toilet seats, furniture, and countertops.
* Don't shake towels or bed sheets. The tiny eggs can become airborne and then swallowed, which can spread the infection.