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The category of “worms” can cover a wide variety of potential parasitic infections.  It is not the goal of this particular article to attempt a thorough survey of all of the different kinds.  Rather, what this article will attempt to do is to give a basic list of some of the more common types of parasitic infections that can occur and to focus on one particular case with somewhat more in-depth information.  In particular the second part of this article will be focussing on pinworm infections, which are the most common form of parasitic infection that one can expect to encounter in the United States

.  This is not to say that there are not other common parasitic infections that one should be aware about, nor is it to suggest that the perhaps higher prevalence of different forms of parasitic infections in other countries all over the world should be considered any less important.  As always, articles of this sort are in no way considered to be definitive medical information.  Instead, they should be considered as a primer or starting point in an overall information collection process.  Ultimately, decisions about medical conditions and the search for definitive medical information should always be sought by going to a trained and certified licensed health care professional such as your family physician.


There are a number of different parasitic infections that one might worry about, including ring worm, tape worm or tape worms, ring worms and other forms of intestinal worms.  Ring Worm Symptoms: an itchy, blotchy red area with scaled like borders that is characterised by a shape that looks either like a ring or a number of rings and from which the disease gets its name.  Human Tape Worm Symptoms: include abdominal pain or other discomfort including diarrhea, but may also be without symptoms.  Be sure to contact a health care professional for further advice on these diseases and disorders.

Pinworm Infection

As mentioned in the introduction to this article, pinworm infections are one of the more common forms of parasitic infection that is likely to be encountered in North America

.  Pinworms are in fact a form of roundworm infection and they main purpose they have is to inhabit the body as a place to live and as a means of reproducing.  Pinworm infections are not particularly difficult to treat nor are the effects of such an infection overly deleterious.  In general, the infection occurs when the eggs of the worm are taken into the body and ultimately these eggs hatch and grow into pinworms as they move through the digestive system.  The reproductive stage of their life cycle involves the mature worms, which can be approximately half of an inch length, laying their eggs in the anal area of the body.  These infections can be easily treated using medications and this article will mention in general some of the means of treating a pinworm infection as well as some common sense tips to avoid getting such an infection in the first place.


How do you know if you have a pinworm infection?  



This is a common question that does not have a straightforward answer.  In fact, a mild pinworm infection will not cause any symptoms whatsoever.  It is only if the number of pinworms in one’s body increases to a level that would be considered a moderate or even a heavy infection that they do become noticeable.  At this point, most often during the night when the worms are active, they are most noticeable as they lay their eggs in the anal region.  As a result of these activities by the worms the most common signs and symptoms of a pinworm infection including an itchy feeling in the vaginal or anal area that may result in or is accompanied by an inability to sleep leading to an irritable disposition and a general sense of restlessness.  As they inhabit one’s gastrointestinal tract it is possible that there might be other related pain or other discomfort of a general sense that may or may not accompany such an infection.

Treatment and Prevention


In order to avoid a pinworm infection the best means available to everyone is to practice good hygiene.  In general, the way in which these parasites reproduce is by the ingestion of their eggs.  This occurs by getting the eggs of the parasite trapped under one’s fingernails from a contaminated source or in the area immediately around the anus where the pinworms lay their eggs which symptomatically becomes quite itchy and can lead to such behaviour that might cause these eggs to become lodged under the fingernails, such as scratching.  This is a disease that often occurs with children who may not instinctively practice proper hygiene procedures, or by adults who do not wash hands appropriately.  In addition living in a warm climate can also be a risk factor for a pinworm infection as warmer climates are more hospitable to the lifecycle of the worms.

As a result of the often unserious nature of a mild pinworm infection there may be no need for treatment, which is in some ways helpful as mild infections are for the most part not symptomatic.  However, in cases where medication is needed it is important that the entire household takes precautions in order to prevent the infection from spreading.  This may include everyone in the household taking the required medication.  However, in a less severe case it may simply be enough for the household of the infected individual to simply take extra precautions regarding their hygiene and to ensure to wash in the laundry any and all clothing or linens that may or even may not have come into contact with the infected individual.  The medications themselves are for the most part two kinds.  There may be some form of a topical ointment that will treat the itching that is symptomatic with such an infection.  Secondly, it is not uncommon for an antihelminthic, or more commonly known as an anti-parasite, medication to be treated.  The most common medications of this time go by the trade names Vermox (mebendazole), Antiminth and Pin-Rid (pyrantel).