Worm infestations happen when worms infect the intestines and other parts of the body. Examples of the different worms are pinworms, roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, tapeworms and flukes.
A patient with a mild infestation might not show any symptoms. However, some may experience itching around the anal area. The itch normally happens at night when the female worm lays eggs at areas surrounding the anus.
A worm infestation spreads most commonly through passing of the worm eggs from the anus to the mouth. Worm eggs are often found under the fingernails of the infected person who has scratched the area around the anus. When the infected person uses their contaminated fingers to handle food or eat, the worm eggs are transferred indirectly from the anus to the mouth.
Worm eggs that fall off the areas surrounding the anus into the environment can also be breathed in. Worm eggs may also be spread by house dust, from pets or through contact with contaminated objects such as bedding, cups, utensils or doorknobs.
The symptoms of this condition can include the following:
Itching around the anal area, especially at night
Poor appetite causing weight loss
Stomach discomfort, diarrhoea, nausea
Being unable to concentrate
Spotting worms in your stool during bowel movement
Worm infestation can be treated in the following ways and you can approach your pharmacist to get the following medication.
Although worm infestation can be treated without a doctor’s consultation, there are times where the condition might be more serious. You should see a doctor if you experience any of the following:
Have blood or pus in your stool
Are vomiting daily or frequently
Extremely tired and dehydrated
Losing weight with no obvious reason
Feel sick, have diarrhea or stomach pain for more than 2 weeks.
Have a red and itching rash on your skin shaped like a worm
Other than using medications to treat the condition, worm infestations can also be managed by the following methods:
Wash the clothes and bedding with hot water for the whole family. Do not shake these items before you wash them as shaking the clothes or bedding can spread eggs into the air.
Clean the floor by vacuuming or mopping for a few days after being treated for the worm infestation.
Treat family members who are in close contact with the infected person.
The following are some suggestions to prevent worm infestations from happening again:
Keep your fingernails short to prevent the transfer of eggs to the fingernails and avoid biting your nails. Cut and scrub the nails of infected persons with a brush and soap.
Practice good hygiene such as washing your hands with soap before cooking, eating, after playing, changing diapers, using the toilet and touching an animal or animal waste.
Make sure your food is cooked properly. You should only drink safe and clean water.
Have daily morning showers to remove any eggs that were laid at the area around the anus.
Avoid walking barefoot.
This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.
The information above is solely for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medicine or other treatment. Always speak with your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional before taking any medicine or supplement, or adopting any treatment for a health problem. Under no circumstances will the National Medication Information workgroup be liable to any person for damages of any nature arising in any way from the use of such information.
Last updated on Sept 2022
This article was last reviewed on
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
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