The only types of worms that anyone wants are in the compost. But unfortunately, it’s normal for kids to bring home worms in their bottoms, and squeamish parents have to deal with them.
Dr Elysia Thornton-Benko of Bondi Road Doctors has a stronger squirm reflex than most, so she gives us her steps for ushering out wrigglers from derrieres.
Listen to Elysia on Kinderling Conversation:
1. Take a look
Dr Elysia says that if your kid has an itchy bum, it’s easiest to take a peek and judge. Have a look around the anus, and “if it doesn’t look like a rash or some other cause, then you do have to start thinking about worms,” says Elysia.
“The most common worm is the thin worm, the thread worm and the pin worm, and they’re like thin little white threads,” Elysia describes. “If there’s a worm in the toilet, then that’s good confirmation and you definitely want to tell the childcare centre, then the whole childcare centre should have the treatment.”
2. Treat the infestation
Once you’ve identified the wriggling rascals hiding up the rear, make a quick trip to the pharmacy to treat the whole family for anyone over two years old.
Elysia explains that “You need to repeat [the treatment] about two weeks later, because obviously you want to kill the worms off but you also want to kill any eggs. Certainly once you’ve given the medication, it’s good to have a shower that night and the morning after to wash away any eggs that might be sitting there.”
3. Clean the house
Elysia suggests washing the sheets and drying them on a hot cycle or in the sun, just to give everything a freshen-up. It’s also a good idea to give the house a quick vacuum too.
The reason being, “the darn eggs, they can survive two weeks,” Elysia explains.
While worms are not a huge deal health-wise, it is a feco-oral situation, ie. if eggs go in through the mouth, they hatch in the small intestine and come out through the toosh.
“It’s not that dangerous but your child might be a little bit more unsettled at night,” says Elysia. Eradication is key, as well as lots of hand washing and keeping nails cut close to the skin.
Seek medical advice if:
- A family member is under two-years-old.
- “If you ever felt or saw a worm that looks underneath the skin, either wriggling or raised, that’s a different kind of worm,” says Elysia. “That you would go to the doctor for and get a proper diagnosis.”
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