How to Prevent and Cure a Pinworm Infestation
Pinworms exist among many subjects that most people would rather not talk about. And who could blame them? In case you don’t know, pinworms are an intestinal parasite that anyone can be infected with if they happen to ingest their microscopic eggs. They live in your bowels for several weeks before emerging from your rectum at night to lay eggs, which leads to unbearable itching. That itching gets the eggs under your fingernails and bed sheets, which helps the parasite spread to new hosts.
I can already sense some of you moving your cursor to click away from this dreadful topic, but before you do, consider this: At any given time, between 10% and 15% of the population is infected with pinworms, most of them children. This isn’t some exotic parasite you pick up after visiting a developing nation. You can get them anywhere, and although children between the ages of 5 and 10 are the most susceptible (on account of their poor hygiene) anyone can get infested with pinworms. Statistically speaking, it will happen to you at some point if it hasn’t already.
So how do you get rid of these nasty critters? There are several options, the most common being over the counter medicines. Pyrantel and mebendazole are the most common treatments, and you take them the same way. You ingest one dose, which will kill the worms but not the eggs. Then you take another dose two weeks later to kill the new pinworms as they hatch. Both of these drugs have a high cure rate, and can be found in most drug stores.
Unfortunately, they’re not suitable in all cases. They’re not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and they may cause problems for people who are taking certain prescription drugs. They’re also known to cause nausea, headaches, vomiting, cramps, and insomnia. And in any case, they don’t work 100% of the time. That’s why you may also want to consider a few of these natural remedies:
- Consume raw garlic on a daily basis. Unlike the over the counter drugs, this will kill the worms and the eggs.
- A daily dose of food grade diatomaceous earth can kill the worms. It can also be applied to diapers and bed sheets to keep them from multiplying.
- The sulfur in onions creates an environment in your digestive system that repels pinworms. Eat raw onions, or soak chopped up onions in water and drink it throughout the day.
- Eating pumpkin seeds won’t kill the worms, but there are compounds in the seeds that will paralyze them. Rather than clinging to the intestinal walls, they will slip away during bowel movements
- Wormwood and ground up black walnut shells are often taken together to kill many parasites, including pinworms.
- Apple cider vinegar doesn’t kill pinworms, but it does lower the pH in your bowels. The worms can’t thrive in that environment, and will die off naturally without multiplying.
- Cut excess sugar out of your diet. Pinworms love sugary foods, and struggle to survive without them.
Keep in mind that whatever treatment option you choose, it’s important that every member of the household is treated. These critters are highly contagious. Their eggs are light enough to go airborne, and they can stick to anything. If one person in the house has pinworms, it would be best to assume that everyone has them. And unlike the medicines you buy in the drug store, any natural treatment that doesn’t outright kill the worms should be continued for 13 weeks, which is the full lifespan of a pinworm. If you fail to follow any of these procedures, there’s a good chance that you’ll get infested with pinworms over and over again.
As you can imagine, dealing with pinworms is a major pain in the butt, figuratively and literally. Fortunately, there are ways to keep yourself from getting infected in the first place.
Cleanliness of the highest order is key. In all seriousness, if you’re OCD, you’re ahead of the curve in this case. First and foremost, everyone in your house needs to keep their fingernails trimmed at all times, especially if you have any kids. The most common way they spread is from kids scratching their behinds, and getting the eggs burrowed under their nails.
Wash your hands frequently and take a shower every morning, because the eggs are always laid overnight. Clean your bed sheets, towels, and clothes every few days, for at least for the three weeks following any treatment regimen. Dry them on high heat, which should kill the eggs.
Clean your house religiously for several weeks. Every item and surface in your home needs to be cleaned on a regular basis, because the eggs can survive for 2-3 weeks outside of the body. You might want to consider wearing a face mask while you clean to prevent the eggs from being inhaled or swallowed. The eggs typically don’t last long in the sunlight though, so keep the drapes open and let in as much sun as you can.
And finally, you should learn to stop touching your face. It’s an incredibly difficult habit to break, but like everything else listed above, it will go a long way towards keeping pinworms out of your body, and out of your life.
Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.
Joshua’s website is Strange Danger
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
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