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Conditions

Intestinal Worms

Threadworm

It sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, but worms really can enter kids’ digestive systems and live there like parasites, feeding off the body. There are many different types of intestinal worms and because children’s immune systems aren’t fully developed, they are at a greater risk of contracting them than adults. So what are the symptoms, where do the worms come from, and what can you do about them?

Intestinal worms, round worms, tapeworms and toxacara worms can all cause a loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, a painful or even distended tummy, fever, coughing, and in the case of the most common UK worm, the threadworm, an uncomfortable itch at night around the anus and/or the vulva. Girls may also experience a vaginal discharge. Though very rare in the UK, toxacara infection also affects the sight. For some kids however, if they have a low number of worms wriggling around their digestive system, there are no specific symptoms.

Kids can catch worms from coming into contact with anything contaminated with worms’ eggs. That can mean the vomit or poo of an infected dog or cat from a litter tray or soil in the garden. The commonest way of ingesting the threadworm is when kids scratch the itchy worm eggs that have been laid round their bottoms at night, and then put their fingers in their mouths.

Once the worms have entered the body they start to lay eggs. The eggs hatch and the worms themselves work their way into the intestine, where more eggs are laid. Threadworms live for about six weeks. In rare cases, the worms can then move round the body and enter other organs such as the lungs or even the brain, in which case the condition is much more serious.

Worms can be passed out when kids go to the toilet, and one way of checking for an infection is to examine the stool, where the long, thin, thread-like worms may be visible.

It sounds unpleasant, but worms are easily treated with anti-parasitic drugs which your doctor can prescribe. Hygiene here is vital. Worm infection is much more prevalent in places where there’s poor sanitation. Teach kids never to handle animal faeces, don’t keep your pet’s litter tray in the kitchen or bathroom, and if you think a pet is the source, make sure it is treated too.

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

Ive had them for about 2 weeks now havent seen any, maybe theres still a few left but i hope not there super annonying... (SIGH)





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i have had a colonoscopy and half of the results were hard to see not very clear.I have stomach cramps after nearly every meal and have to rush to the toilet,and then i want to eat again.could this be a sympton of worms?





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If a child has thread worms, does this cause there to be white marks in their pants?





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My 15 year old came to me red faced and explained that he itched so bad he couldnt sleep. I told him I would have to "look" and he was very resistant. I told him lets pretend we are camping and roll over on his side so dad can check it out. His anal area was covered with little white worms. We went to the druggist who recommended pack the area with noxema 4 times a day for a week. He had relief almost instantly, we applied it for 2 weeks and completely gone.





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Hi, today is the first time I've noticed white worms in my poo. It really freaked me out haha, but I've also been getting sharp pains up my anus and it's itchy around that area. What medicine shall I use? I don't want to go to a doctor so just ones I could get over the counter at a supermarket would be great, thanks:) by the way I'm 14





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I know it's embarrassing but you need to go to the DR to get the right medicine. If you tell the Dr what's been happening they will probably agree with you. The Dr probably won't even examine you. Even if the Dr does ask to take a look, you can say "No, I don't want to do that" or you can ask for a nurse to chaperone you if you feel uncomfortable.

Ive just become 13 and I started seeing small white wriggly things in my poo around about 3-4 years ago and now I want to lose weight but I seem to be putting it on even tho I have a healthy lifestyle. My anus like the hole part is always itchy lately on a night and recently through the day could this be the cause of my weight gain and muscle growth slowing? I need help





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I'm 19 years old and I've had them over 2 weeks. I am excessivly terrified from having them. It took 2 weeks for the doctor to give me another dose of medication. I fear that I still have them and have many questions about them because my doctor didn't answer my questions.





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I'm 14 and have them and I can't talk to my mum. I've had them 3 times and twice I told my mum, the first she was good but the second she seemed annoyed and said "again?!". I had them and they went away but they've came back. :(





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I'm mom if a 13 year old and I would want to,know if my child had anything affecting his health. These worms are so common people just don't talk about it, they are also very contagious so by not telling your mom,your putting anyone your around in danger of getting them,as well. Its cheap to treat medicine can,be bought at any drug store over the counter. Please don't deal with this by yourself tell someone you can trust if you don't feel you,can,tell your mom, but I,can't see any mom getting upset about this, you did nothing wrong, it happens to,the best of us xo good luck

It's nothing to be embarrassed about. All it means is you touched something that had microscopic eggs and put it in your mouth. I had them as a kid and my daughters get them sometimes (they both chew their nails). A simple over the counter medicine gets rid of them. Even the cleanest of people can get them.





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I am 12 years old and about a year ago I noticed white specks about 1 cm long in my poo, I am realy embarassed to tell anyone is there any way that I can treat myself??? And also is it serious, I am really scared ;(





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To anyone who is embarrassed about telling I'm 13 and have just told my mum and she said that she's glad I told because she'd rather I was embarrassed and told than being ill and keeping it a secret.





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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