Pinworm or Threadworm
Different names - Same worm
Pinworm and Threadworm are both names for the most common type of worm infection. When someone says their children have worms, it is probably pinworm or threadworm that they are referring to.
These types of worms are the most common infection in the USA, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Fortunately, they are easily treated.
There is often some confusion surrounding the name. Most countries refer to these worms as threadworms; however, in the United States they call this worm pinworm and use the name threadworm to refer to another type of worm called strongyloides.
What do these worms look like?
Pinworms/Threadworms resemble fine strands of white cotton thread. They vary in length, up to about 1.5cm long.
Their eggs resemble fine white specks and are deposited on the skin around the anus. For more information on identifying threadworms, see our guide on how to check for worms.
How do you get Pinworm or Threadworm infections?
These types of worms are very contagious and being infected is nothing to be ashamed of. The infection can be transferred from one person to another very easily and this often happens with children at school. The child can then bring the infection home and transfer it to other family members.
Worms are spread directly and indirectly:
DIRECTLY - through contact with an infected person.
INDIRECTLY - through touching a contaminated surface such as a door handle or by sharing food and items such as pencils and toys.
What Medications should I use?
To kill pinworm or threadworm it is best to use a one-dose treatment containing the active ingredient mebendazole. There is an element of choice involved as the medicines come in different forms. Take your pick from combantrin chocolate squares, vermox tablets, vermox liquid, or de-worm tablets. They will all do the job fast.