Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Pinworms: Care Instructions

Main Content

Pinworms: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

A pinworm is a type of parasite that lives in the lower digestive system of humans. Pinworms survive by getting nutrients from the food you eat. You are most likely to get pinworms by swallowing their eggs. This happens when someone with pinworms scratches around the anus, gets eggs on his or her hands (or under the fingernails), and touches you or an object that you later touch.

Many people feel embarrassed about having "worms." Pinworm infections can happen to anyone, are spread very easily, and are not related to being unclean. They are especially common in children. They are also easily treated.

If you or someone in your family has pinworms that keep coming back, or if more than one family member is infected, every member of your family or household should be treated.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicine exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems with your medicine.
  • Wash your hands well and often.
  • Cut your fingernails short, and keep them trimmed. This can prevent eggs from sticking under your nails.
  • Wash all clothes, towels, and bedding. Do this often, and especially on the first day after treatment. Dry them in a heated dryer.
  • Do not scratch. Itching around the anus caused by a pinworm infection usually happens at night. Try wearing gloves, pyjamas, and close-fitting clothing to help prevent scratching.
  • Bathe carefully every day. Be sure to clean the skin around the anus. This will remove pinworm eggs. Showers may be better than baths because you have less chance of getting water that has pinworm eggs into your mouth.
  • Do not fan or fluff the bedding of a person with pinworms. Doing this can release pinworm eggs into the air. You can swallow eggs that are in the air when you breathe through your mouth.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You develop other symptoms, including:
    • A fever or belly pain.
    • Redness, tenderness, or swelling in the genital area.
    • Itching in the genital area or vagina.
    • Pain when you urinate.
    • A frequent or urgent need to urinate.
    • Lack of control of urination.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your doctor gave you medicine, and the pinworms have not cleared up as expected (usually within 4 to 6 weeks).
  • You are having side effects from medicine for pinworms.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter Z477 in the search box to learn more about "Pinworms: Care Instructions".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.