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Infectious Diseases 2023

How the transmission of oxiúrus happens and how to prevent it

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How the transmission of oxiúrus happens and how to prevent it
How the transmission of oxiúrus happens and how to prevent it

The transmission of pinworms can occur through contact with the worm eggs that may be on clothes, toys and personal objects of the infected child or through the consumption of water or food contaminated with this worm.

When scratching the anus, pinworm eggs adhere to the child's fingernails and fingers, and there may be recontamination, when the child puts his hand in his mouth, or contamination of surfaces and objects that the baby comes into contact with.

The oxiurus eggs can remain alive for up to 30 days, and can infect anyone else during this period and therefore, it is important that clothes and all objects that the child has access to are always washed with hot water and soap.

Main ways of transmission

The main form of transmission of this worm occurs when the infected person scratches the anus, causing the worm or its eggs to get stuck in their fingers or nails and can be spread on their clothes, sheets and throughout the environment. So some ways to be contaminated with this worm are:

  • Eating contaminated food;
  • Use the same clothes, towel or sleep in the same bed as the infected person;
  • Playing with toys or objects contaminated with the worm or its eggs;
  • Sitting on the contaminated toilet;
  • Contacting sewage or polluted water;
  • Sit on the floor wearing only thin fabric clothes.

It is very easy for a person with oxyurus to contaminate others around them, even if this is not their wish. As this infection usually appears in children, parents and teachers need to adopt measures to control the infestation because otherwise the cycle can last for years.

Whenever a person is infected, everyone around them needs to undergo treatment to eradicate this worm. In the most serious cases, in low-income populations with few hygiene habits, it may be necessary for everyone to be treated at the same time and instructed to thoroughly clean their homes until the infestation is completely controlled. See how to treat pinworms.

How to prevent

To prevent oxyurus, it is important that the infected person and family members adopt measures to reduce the risk of reinfection and transmission to other people. So, it is important to have some habits like:

  • Do not shake the infected person's bedding in the morning, but roll up and wash in boiling water every day. The worm has a nocturnal habit, that is, the female of the worm lays eggs in the anal region at night, and the fact that the child scratches, for example, can cause the eggs to be spread on the bedding.
  • Cut your nails and avoid biting them, as it prevents eggs from being carried on your nails and ingested;
  • Clean the house with a vacuum cleaner, as it prevents eggs from being scattered;
  • Consume only filtered or bottled water, avoiding drinking water that is apparently not fit for consumption;
  • Wash food well before preparing it. Foods that are eaten with the skin on must remain soaked in a basin with 1 liter of water and 1 tablespoon of chlorine for at least 20 minutes.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after going to the bathroom, as well as before preparing food.

In addition to these prevention measures, it is important to carry out treatment according to the doctor's guidance. In addition, it is recommended to take a shower first thing in the morning to eliminate the eggs and apply the ointment to the perianal region before going to bed.

During pregnancy, it is important that the woman adopts preventive measures, as it is not advisable to use any medication to eliminate the worm. In these cases, natural remedies are recommended, such as pumpkin seed tea, for example, but which should be consumed under the obstetrician's recommendation.

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