How Can Pinworm Infection Be Prevented?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

Ask the experts

How can pinworm infection be prevented?

Doctor's response

The following practices help reduce the risk of continuous self reinfection:

  • Bathe when you wake up (to help reduce the pinworm egg contamination).
  • Change and wash your underwear each day. Wear pinworm-free underclothing.
  • Frequent changing of night clothes is similarly recommended.
  • Change underwear, night clothes, and sheets after each treatment.
  • Open blinds or curtains in bedrooms during the day (because the pinworm eggs are sensitive to sunlight).
  • Personal hygiene should include washing hands after going to the toilet and before eating.
  • Trim fingernails short.
  • Don't bite nails (because of the danger of swallowing pinworm eggs).
  • Don't scratch bare anal areas (that is where the pinworm eggs are).

Measures such as cleaning and vacuuming the entire house or washing sheets every day are probably not necessary or effective. Screening for pinworm infection in schools or institutions is rarely recommended. Children may return to day care after the first treatment dose, after bathing, and after trimming and scrubbing nails.

This answer is based in part on information from the Division of Parasitic Diseases of the National Center for Infectious Diseases of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC).

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