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HSE Schemes explained


WORMS

Infestation by threadworms is very common in school children and can easily be treated in the pharmacy. While threadworms are by far the most common, other worms may occur occasionally, especially after foreign travel.

The first sign of worm infestation is usually itch around the anus, (the child can be seen to scratch their bottom), the irritation is due to the eggs lain around the anus by the female, who emerges at night to lay eggs and stick them to the skin. The itching may hence be worst at night. The worms themselves can be easily seen in the faeces as white or cream-coloured threads, of about 10 mm long, which can be seen moving as they survive for a short time outside the body. Diarrhoea may be present in severe cases. Other family members may be affected, even without itch or worms in the faeces.

Treatment:
A suitable tablet or syrup will quickly treat any worm infestation by killing the worms in the gut, from which they will be expelled in the next bowel movement, clearing the problem quickly and effectively. It is important that all members of the family, whether showing signs of itching or not (this may take weeks to develop), should be treated together so that they do not re-infect each other. Any family pet should also be wormed as a precaution. Preparations for the treatment of worm infestation are not suitable for use during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

Practical Points:
- Infestation is very common and is not due to lack of care or attention.
- All family members should be treated at the same time, even if only one member has the symptoms - the others are likely to have the worms in early stage with no symptoms.
-Treat family pets for worms at the same time as the rest of the family.
- Fingernails should be cut short as large numbers of eggs may rest there. Hands should be washed and nails brushed after going to the toilet and before preparing or eating food.
- Pyjamas or pants are a good idea for children during worm infestation to prevent scratching during the night, which may lead to a secondary infection.
-Affected family members should have a bath or shower each morning during treatment to wash away any eggs laid during the night.
-A sufferer from worms may be quite run-down and may benefit from a good multivitamin.

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