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Enterobiasis refers to a contagious parasitic infection caused by pinworms. This infection spreads through swallowing or inhaling the eggs of the pinworm.
A pinworm infection is common among children, and it can be easily treated with medications and hygiene measures.
Self-Care Measures for Managing a Pinworm Infection
Personal cleanliness is key in breaking the pinworm cycle and banishing the infection for good. You can adopt the following measures to ensure that the recommended standard of personal and home sanitation is met:
1. Regularly wash your hands
Pinworm eggs latch onto your fingers as you scratch your itchy bottom and are then transmitted. Therefore, keep your hands clean at all times by washing them regularly with mild soap and warm water.
2. Bathe daily
Shower every morning to rid your body of the eggs that the worms laid around the anus overnight.
3. Observe proper nail hygiene
To minimize the risk of contamination, it is essential that you keep your nails short. Nail-biting is strongly discouraged if you wish to overcome this infection, and keeping your nails short will help in this regard too.
4. Wear proper underwear
Wear clean, dry, and well-fitted underpants every day.
5. Change your sleeping clothes
Do not wear the same sleepwear on consecutive nights. Wash your night clothes in hot water the morning after, before wearing them again.
6. Clean floors
To keep your living environment free of pinworms, it is recommended to mop or vacuum the floors of your house regularly until the threat of contamination is effectively resolved. If you have carpets or rugs on the floor, it is mandatory to vacuum them as well.
7. Clean surfaces
It is essential that you thoroughly clean your kitchen counters, fridge handle, faucet knobs, toilet seat, and flush handle daily.
8. Keep your home illuminated
Pinworms lay their eggs at night primarily because these eggs are sensitive to light. Thus, ensuring that your room or living space has enough light during the day can naturally extinguish the eggs.
9. Do not scratch
Resist the urge to scratch your anal area, no matter how strong the itch. Instead of rubbing or scratching the infected anal skin, you are advised to wash it with warm water and soap. This may help disinfect the site and relieve the itch at the same time.
10. Clean your toilet essentials
It is recommended to seal your toothbrush in a case to keep airborne eggs from landing on it.
11. Clean toys
If you have a child in the house, you must clean his/her toys, too.
12. Do not use the bathtub
People with an ongoing pinworm infection should avoid taking baths in a tub as the still water can easily get contaminated with pinworm eggs. It is for this same reason that infected people are strictly advised against sharing a bathtub with others for as long as their condition persists.
13. Decontaminate used linens, underclothes, and towels
Carefully place the infected items into the washer and wash them in hot water. Then, run them through a hot dryer to kill any eggs that may have remained.
Dietary Recommendations for a Pinworm Infection
Making some changes in your diet can help manage the infection:
1. Consume a fiber-rich diet
Consume a fiber-rich diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, grain, whole wheat, and raisins to make your stools bulkier. The more weight your stool has, the easier it will be to wipe away the pinworms in your gut along with the bowel movement.
2. Consume garlic
Consume garlic as a part of your meals for its potential anthelminthic properties. (1)(2) You can also crush a few cloves of garlic and mix them with water to make garlic juice. Avoid excessive intake of garlic to prevent gastrointestinal problems.
3. Eat pumpkin seeds
Its active compound, cucurbitacin, is believed to have anthelmintic properties. (3) However, further research is required to warrant its effects. Avoid use if allergic reaction occurs.
4. Limit your carbohydrate and sugar intake
Parasites such as pinworms derive their sustenance from starches and sugar.
Anthelminthic treatment, which involves using antiparasitic medication to eradicate the worms from your body, is the primary strategy for dealing with pinworm infection. However, the treatment will only bear successful results when performed in conjunction with the above-listed hygienic measures.