Pin-worms look like tiny white threads. They live in the intestines of children and adults who are infected with them. At night, they travel to the rectal opening and lay eggs on the outside skin. This causes tremendous itching of the child’s bottom, called pruritis ani and can cause insomnia and restless sleep. You can check for pin-worms by examining your child’s skin about the anal opening with a flashlight in the wee-hours of the night. Even though you may feel like the midnight stalker, this is an effective way of determining if your child is infected with pin-worms. Usually, the best time to check your child is around midnight. This infection is spread by the passage of eggs from infected persons to others.

Pin-worms require treatment with medication to relieve the infestation. We can check for pin-worms during an office visit with a pin-worm test.  Unfortunately, this test can have some false negative results. When an infection is identified, all family members should be treated for the infection. At the time the family members are treated, underwear and bed linens should be changed and washed in very hot water. The house should also be vacuumed thoroughly. In addition to this, fingernails should be trimmed and the hands thoroughly cleansed. The above measures are necessary to rid the person and the home of pin-worm eggs.

Reviewed by Dr. Byrum on 3/22/17