Parents can’t be proud of everything their child brings home from school

Here are some myth busting facts about worms that will help schools and parents being in the know and prepared about these common occurrences:

Myth #1: only people that have poor hygiene are affected

While its true poor hygiene habits can contribute to the spread of threadworm, catching threadworms does not mean a person is ‘dirty’. They are simply highly contagious, and a natural part of growing up for many – it's through no fault of the parents.

Kids might catch worms while playing a contact sport with friends or holding hands with a mate in the playground at school. Another form of catching them, for example, may come from touching a door handle, a washbasin tap or a piece of furniture that has previously been touched by someone who’s infected. 

Myth #2: it can be transferred from pets

Threadworms are a human-specific parasite and cannot be contracted from pets.

Myth #3 it is rare to get threadworms

Contracting threadworms is common amongst children that parents and teachers are more than familiar with as they are very easy to contract and spread.

Myth #4: the only symptom is an itchy bottom

The warning signs aren't always easy to spot. Sometimes threadworm infections don't have any symptoms, which makes it harder to know what's wrong. But for most infections there are the following signs:

  • An itchy bottom
  • General irritability
  • Trouble sleeping, or restless sleep
  • Sudden lack of appetite2

For definitive proof of a threadworm infection, one of the most common ways is to look for worms on the outside surface of bowel motions (these resemble fine pieces of cotton thread, up to 1.5cm long) Also look for moving worms or eggs around the anus about an hour after the child has gone to bed. Using a torch, worms should be visible to the naked eye. These eggs resemble tiny white specks which are laid by the female worm.

Myth #5: there is no easy solution

Being prepared is the first step. All mums and dads know the importance of being prepared, and that goes doubly in the case of worm infections! Having the right treatment on hand to react as soon as symptoms appear can help get rid of the infection and ensure kids can go back to sharing some rough and tumble with their pals or siblings as soon as possible. Other steps include:

  • Treat the whole family
  • Clean the home post-treatment
  • A follow-up treatment is recommended after two weeks to four weeks after initial dose if symptoms are still present.
  • Informing the school and parents will help to break the cycle of threadworm infestation. Schools can assist by encouraging parents to check kids for symptoms and ensure children who show symptoms are treated.

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