HOW KIDS AND ADULTS
GET PINWORM

AND WHY IT'S SO CONTAGIOUS.

PINWORM? Contact your doctor today.    

LEARN ABOUT a TREATMENT PINWORM LIFE CYCLE FACT SHEET

HOW PINWORM INFECTION STARTS

Pinworm infection begins when a person unknowingly swallows tiny (nearly invisible) pinworm eggs.

The eggs mature inside a person's intestine. In about a month, the eggs hatch and become adult parasitic worms that move through the intestine. With new eggs to lay, the female pinworms crawl out of the person's bottom, usually at night. The female pinworms lay thousands of tiny, sticky eggs just outside the anal area.

The sticky eggs and the movement of the worms can cause intense itching of the anal area.

When an infected person scratches his or her bottom, the sticky eggs cling to their fingers. The infected person unknowingly spreads eggs to things he or she touches, such as towels, doorknobs, and toilets.

WHY IT SPREADS SO EASILY

Nearly invisible, pinworm eggs can live for 3 weeks on surfaces such as doorknobs, bedding, towels, furniture, toys, and other objects.

As people unknowingly touch objects with pinworm eggs on them, the eggs stick to their fingers.

When a person touches his or her mouth, he or she unknowingly swallows the tiny pinworm eggs. Once the eggs are swallowed, that person becomes infected.

This is how pinworm infection is spread. If it is not treated, pinworm can infect more people and repeatedly reinfect the same person.

Find out

  • How pinworm can keep reinfecting members of your household
  • Why you should see a doctor if you suspect pinworm

This website is not a substitute for a doctor's diagnosis of pinworm or for a doctor's treatment for pinworm infection. Only a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional can provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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