My ears perked up when the discussion turned to threadworms. It’s one of those topics people don’t often talk about in public, like flatulence, headlice, and sex.
It turns out that threadworms (knows as "pinworms" in the US) are quite common in the UK, and most of the mums at the coffee morning had dealt with them at one point.
A couple of my daughters have been complaining lately of itching “down there” and I had put it down to, how shall I say this, a lack of understanding on how to use toilet paper properly.
Maybe they had threadworms. Horror.
So I got the low down over a latte (and the BBC Health site).
- Threadworms are spread through poor hygiene (i.e., not washing your hands after using the loo).
- The main symptom is itching around the anus or vulva.
- The female threadworm comes out at night to lay eggs around the anus – which is what causes all the itching!
- You can find out if your children have them them with a “torch test” (shine a torch in the affected area after they are asleep) or inspect a nappy or the loo. Neither of these tests appeal to me. You can also do a “celephane test” -- in the morning stick a piece of tape around the anus to see if it picks up any eggs, but you will need a microscope to see them!
- You can get rid of them by getting an over-the-counter drug from the chemist. A single does of an anti-parasitic drug, such as Ovex, should be given to the whole family (make sure you read the precautions in the paperwork). This kills the worms, but not the eggs. If symptoms persists, see your doctor, you might have to take another dose two weeks later after the eggs have hatched.
So, there you go. All you ever wanted to know about threadworms. And more.
This post was written by Susanna, an Expat Mums founder. You can read more of her work at her blog, A Modern Mother.
Photo credit: jsotelo