Worms is a common condition in young children and if correctly diagnosed, is easily treated. The usual trigger for parents to suspect worms is an itchy bottom, and whilst this IS a common symptom it is important to be able to distinguish worms from other conditions which may cause the same kinds of symptoms.

The only way to confirm your child has worms is to actually sight them. This can be done using the ‘Torch Test’, which involves shining a torch at the child’s bottom at night before they go to bed. What you can expect to see will be little thread like worms around the anus. Similarly, these may be sometimes seen in the child’s stools.

The itchy bottom occurs because the worms lay their eggs around the anus at night, which is why the itching may become worse when the child goes to bed, and why it is also best to check for worms at night. As well as an itchy bottom, the child may also show any of the following symptoms:

trouble sleeping – due to the itchy bottom keeping them awake

irritability – due to poor sleeping patterns!

poor appetite compared to normal – because the worms can cause an upset belly

Once you are sure your child has worms, there are some simple treatments that your Pharmacist can recommend to treat the condition. It is important to keep in mind that worms is a contagious condition that can easily spread from one family member to another, so all household members should be treated at the same time, especially younger members of the family!

Dispelling some common MYTHS about worms that seem to get people confused:

Worms that humans get are NOT the same as the worms your dog or cat may get. So when worming your pets it is not necessary to worm your kids.

Ringworm in fact is NOT a worm – it is actually a fungal infection that appears as a circular rash on the skin and is treated using antifungal creams

It can be difficult to see the worms and it may be necessary to treat without actually seeing the worms.