Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Pinworm Infection?

Pinworm is an intestinal infection caused by a tiny, white, highly contagious intestinal worm (Enterobius Vermicularis) that looks like a thread and measures about 1/2″ (1 cm) in length. Since they are very small, a person will not necessarily see them until the infestation is large.

How Can You Get Infected With Pinworm?

Ingesting microscopic pinworm eggs is the typical way most people become infected. The eggs travel through the stomach to the intestinal system where they hatch. Within 2-4 weeks, the adult female pinworms begin migrating from the large intestine to the area around the rectum. There they lay new eggs which trigger itching. Touching or scratching the affected area transfers the eggs to the host’s fingers, which can spread them practically anywhere. When another person inadvertently ingests these eggs, the process known as retro infection begins all over again.

Who Is At Risk For Pinworm Infection?

Pinworm infection occurs worldwide and affects persons of all ages and socioeconomic levels. It is the most common worm infection in the United States. Pinworm infection occurs most commonly among

  • school-aged and preschool-aged children,
  • institutionalized persons, and
  • household members and caretakers of persons with pinworm infection.

Pinworm infection often occurs in more than one person in household and institutional settings. Child care centers often are the site of cases of pinworm infection.

What Are The Symptoms Of Pinworm Infections?

You should suspect that your child and/or family member is infected if they:

  • Frequently scratch their anal area
  • Are uncomfortable sitting
  • Have difficulty sleeping
  • Act restless
  • Experience loss of appetite

How Do I Identify A Pinworm Infection?

If pinworms are suspected, you can confirm infestation by visiting a healthcare professional or performing the “Scotch® Tape Test”. Collect anal debris by pressing a piece of tape against the skin around the anus and examine it for the presence of eggs or worms. The tape test should be done in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning before bathing or using the toilet to minimize the disturbance or removal of the eggs.

How Do I Eliminate Pinworms?

Pinworm infection is fully treatable. The best way to eliminate pinworms is to use an over-the-counter Pyrantel Pamoate-based medication such as Reese’s Pinworm Medicine. Reese’s Pinworm Medicine is highly effective for eliminating pinworms–usually with just one dose. Many major drug chains as well as independent pharmacies carry our product. Be sure to ask for it by name. Because pinworms are contagious, all family members need to be treated at the same time. Several children can be easily treated with a single bottle of Reese’s Pinworm Medicine. If the household is large, or has two or more adults, more than one (1) oz bottle, or a (2) oz Family Pack may be required because dosages required are based on each individual’s weight. The medicine usually takes approximately 72 hours to fully rid the system of pinworms.

For several days after treatment, clean the bedroom floor by vacuuming or damp mopping. After treatment, wash bed linens and night clothes (don’t shake them). Keep toilet seats clean.

What Can Be Done for Itching While Waiting for Pinworm Medicine to Take Effect?

The medicine should take around 72 hours to clear the system of pinworms. In the meantime, Reese’s Pinworm Itch Relief Wipes can be used to provide relief from the itching and irritation associated with pinworms. The wipes contain 1% pramoxine hydrochloride, which provides temporary relief of pain, soreness, burning, itching or discomfort associated with anorectal inflammation. The wipes format keeps contact with highly contagious pinworms to a minimum. And the convenient, resealable, on-the-go pouch is useful for instant relief anywhere.

How Do I Prevent Getting Pinworm Again?

Do not repeat treatment unless directed by a doctor. Because of the possibility that pinworm eggs may still be present in the house after your family’s initial treatment, your family doctor must be consulted to determine the next course of action for complete elimination of pinworms and/or their eggs.

These simple measures can help prevent infestation:

  • Bathe or shower daily
  • Frequently wash and change underwear, sleepwear, toys and bedding
  • Wash hands regularly, especially after using the toilet and before eating
  • Keep fingernails trimmed short
  • Discourage nail biting
  • Discourage touching, scratching bare anal areas
  • Keep your home clean