Pinworms are one of the most common types of human worm infection.
Children are more likely to be infected with pinworms
Pinworms are particularly found in temperate climate. The children are at a higher risk of getting infected by these
Pinworms can be present anywhere, in bed linens, clothing, and other items. When a child handles these items which are infested by the pinworms, the pinworms lodge themselves on the skin of the fingers of these children. Children usually have a tendency to put their fingers in the mouth. They generally forget to wash their hands before eating.
In other cases, they are too lazy to wash their hand before eating. They also tend to bite their fingernails when nervous. They are more likely to eat with their hands instead of using spoons and forks. As a result of this they are more at a risk of ingesting the pinworm eggs accidentally.
In other cases, the child may directly ingest the pinworm eggs by consuming the food infested with the pinworm eggs. This results in the ingestion of the eggs.
The pinworm eggs then travel into the intestine through the mouth. In the intestine, the pinworms lodge themselves and begin the process of maturation. The eggs of the pinworm hatch in the duodenum or the first part of the human intestine. Once the pinworm matures, it becomes about 140 to 150 micrometers in size. The female pinworms have life span of 5 to 13 weeks, whereas the male pinworm has a lifespan of about 7 weeks. The male and the female pinworms then mate in the ileum or the last part of the human intestine. After the mating, the male pinworm dies and is passed out of the body through the stools.
Female pinworm lays eggs around the skin of anus
Around a period of four weeks to 6 weeks after the ingestion of the eggs and human infestation, the adult female moves down the intestine. It then leaves the body via the anus in order to lay a batch of eggs on the surrounding skin.
The eggs may cause intense itching of the anus and the surrounding skin especially at night. As the children scratch the skin around the anus, the eggs lodge themselves in the fingernails and on the skin of the fingers. So when the child puts the contaminated finger in his mouth, he infects himself again with the eggs. So the life cycle of the pinworms starts again, with eggs passing into the intestine, maturing, and laying eggs on the anus again.
Children can pass on the infection to adults
Adults are also likely to get infected by the pinworms, especially when the children get infected. This is because when they handle the bed clothes, clothing and other items that are used by the child, the pinworm eggs can lodge on their fingers and they may accidentally ingest the eggs causing infestation. The pinworm infection may also spread by direct contamination of food.