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Cheerful boy

How do I know if my child has worms?

The most common signs that your child may have worms include:

  • Itching around the bottom, especially at night
  • Disturbed sleep, which may lead to bedwetting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Grinding teeth
  • In girls, there may also be redness and itching around the vaginal area

But sometimes, there may be no symptoms at all.

The best way to confirm if your child has worms, is if you can see them

Threadworms look like very small, short pieces of cotton thread, around 5−10 mm in length, hence their name.
There are different ways to spot them, depending on what time of day it is:

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The best way to check for worms in the morning is to use the ‘sticky tape test’, but you will need access to a microscope. Your doctor may ask you to do a sticky tape test. This involves gently pressing a piece of sticky tape around the child’s anal area. This should be done before bathing or using the toilet. Your doctor or nurse will look at the tape under a microscope for any eggs. If there were eggs laid during the night, they should be visible on the tape under a microscope.

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You can check for worms at any time of day if your child has a bowel motion. Worms can often be seen on the surface of bowel motions as tiny, white threads.

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The best way to check for worms at night is to use the ‘torch test’. This can be done by shining a torch at the child’s anal area, about an hour after they have gone to bed. This method can be particularly effective for spotting worms, because they tend to lay their eggs around the anus at night. If your child has worms, you can expect to see tiny, thread-like worms around the anal area.

Once you have confirmed that your child has worms, you can effectively treat them with Vermox. Use these methods described here to regularly check if your child’s treatment has been successful.


smiling boy

When to seek medical help

Threadworm infections are annoying but rarely serious.

However, you should see your doctor if:

  • There is no improvement in symptoms, despite treatment
  • The treatment has caused side effects
  • There are new, or worsening symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting
  • There is a skin infection from scratching
  • Your child is under 2 years old
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If you suspect a rare worm infestation, such as roundworm, whipworm or hookworm
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