Childhealthy’s Guide to Worms

September 14, 2023

A Guide To Worms In Children

Threadworms are a type of worm that can live in your child’s intestines. They’re not dangerous, but they can be uncomfortable for your child. This may not sound like an appealing topic, but it’s important to know what to do about worms if you want to keep them away from your family.

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about threadworms: what they are, how to diagnose them, and how to treat them.

A group of children laughing and smiling

What are worms?

Threadworms (worms) are tiny parasites that can live in your intestines. They feed on stools and look like tiny white pieces of thread.

They’re very common in children and are easily treated with over the counter medicines.

How do I know if my child has worms?

The first signs that your child may have worms if is you notice that they’re frequently itching their bottom or vaginal area.

If you inspect your child’s bottom, you may see the thread-like worms wriggling around their anus – especially at night when they are most active.

You may also spot threadworm eggs around their anus.

What symptoms should I look out for?

  • Itching around the bottom, especially at night.
  • Irritability and waking at night.
  • Sore skin around their bottom.
  • Tummy cramps.
  • Wetting the bed.
  • Weight loss (very rare).

How can I treat worms?

Worms are easily treated with threadworm medicines from your local pharmacy. They usually come in tablet or liquid form. It is important to treat every member of the household, not just the child with symptoms.

However, although the medicine will kill mature threadworms, the eggs are harder to eliminate. That’s because the eggs can live away from the human body for up to two weeks. So they may contaminate clothing, bedding and towels. To avoid being reinfected:


  • Encourage the whole family to wash hands regularly and scrub under their fingernails – particularly after using the toilet and before eating.
  • Keep fingernails short.
  • Wash every morning, threadworms are more active at night.
  • Make sure children wear underwear at night to contain the worms and eggs.
  • Wash all bedding, towels, soft toys on a hot wash.
  • Use disinfectant to clean all surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Vacuum regularly and dust everywhere using a damp cloth.


  • Letting your child suck their thumb or bite their fingernails.
  • Sharing towels or flannels.
  • Shaking clothing and bedding as it may cause the eggs to fall onto other surfaces.

Why does my child get worms?

You’re most commonly infected with worms after touching objects or surfaces with worm eggs on them – such as touching toilet seats or swallowing water or food that is contaminated with worm eggs. That’s why it’s so important to encourage your child to wash their hands and practice good hygiene at school as well as at home.

If you, your child or anyone else has worms, there’s no need to stay off nursery, school or work.

Do you have a question about worms? Email us on and we’ll do our best to include it.

If you’re worried about your child’s health, do contact us to book an appointment with one of our paediatricians who can provide advice and reassurance.


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