Threadworms (pinworms) are tiny worms in your poo. They’re common in children and spread easily. They look like pieces of white thread in your poo and you might also see them around your child’s bottom (anus). The worms usually come out at night while your child is sleeping. They can cause extreme itching around the anus or vagina and irritability and waking up during the night.

You can buy medicine for threadworms from pharmacies. This is usually a chewable tablet or liquid you swallow. Treat everyone in your household, even if they do not have symptoms. Medicine kills the threadworms, but it does not kill the eggs. Eggs can live for up to two weeks outside the body. Children can get worms again after they’ve been treated for them if they get the eggs in their mouth. This is why it’s important to encourage children to wash their hands regularly.

To help stop re-infection encourage children to wash hands regularly and scrub under fingernails – particularly before eating and after using the toilet, bathe or shower every morning and make sure children wear underwear at night – change it in the morning.

Do not shake clothing or bedding, share towels or flannels, and do not bite nails or suck thumbs and fingers.

You do not need to stay off school, nursery or work with threadworms. 

Please click here for advice on the NHS Health A-Z website, Threadworms.

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Page last updated 29 June 2022