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Information on Pinworm Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Pinworms are very tiny, threadlike and white in colour. Pinworms infections are more common in children than in adults, and occur especially between the ages of 5 and 10 years.

Pinworm Infections

They are usually spread by human to human contact, and are more prevalent in crowded living conditions. Pinworms are found only amongst humans and never in animals.

Tiny eggs of the pinworm are laid in the anal or peri-anal areas. These are quite itchy, and when someone with an infestation, scratches that area, the eggs get under the fingernails from where they are transferred to anything they touch, such as their bedding, clothing and toys. When someone touches these objects, the eggs are transferred to their hands and may be ingested, leading to a spread of the infection.

Symptoms

An itchy rectal area, especially at night, is the most common symptom, since the female pinworm crawls out of the anus, and lays her eggs during the night

Testing

Although pinworms do not cause any serious disease, they can be very itchy and annoying. Besides, scratching in that delicate area, may break the skin and lead to subsequent bacterial infections.

  • So it is best to get a pinworm testing done. A pinworm test tape is one of the most efficient ways to diagnose an infection.
  • Since the eggs are laid at night, the best way to collect the samples of pinworm eggs is in the morning, even before bathing.
  • Take a small piece (about 1 inch) of scotch tape and press the sticky side firmly over the anal area. Keep it there for a few seconds.
  • Send this tape for testing. The eggs will stick to the tape, and this sticky side will be pressed on a glass slide. The eggs get transferred to the slide, and will be visible under a microscope.
  • It is best to repeat the procedure for 2 or 3 days to guarantee best results.

No preparation is needed for this test. If pinworm eggs show up in the slide, it confirms a pinworm infection.

Treatment

Your doctor will usually prescribe a tablet of mebendazole or albendazole, which kills the pinworms. A single dose is usually sufficient. It may be followed by another dose after a couple of weeks, if the infection has been very severe.

Since pinworms infections can easily pass back and forth between members of a family, doctors usually treat the entire family.

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