‘I’m a pharmacist – parents must know the symptoms of threadworms’

Care’s Expert Pharmacist, Karen Baker said the most common infections that increase when children go back to school are threadworms and chickenpox.

These viruses “easily spread between children in close proximity”, which means they can also spread within households.

Baker urged parents and carers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of these common infections.

“Children should be aware to report any itching to a parent,” said Baker.

She said this is especially true if the itching is present “round the back passage”.

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Baker elaborated: “These are the most common symptoms of threadworms, although other symptoms can be present.”


Threadworms are tiny worms in your poo which resemble white threads.

“The worms usually come out at night while your child is sleeping,” says the NHS.

Aside from extreme itching around private parts, particularly at night, threadworms can lead to:

  • Weight loss
  • Irritated skin around the anus
  • Wetting the bed.

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Threadworms can spread through inconsistent hygiene, Baker said, which is why youngsters should be encouraged to wash their hands with soapy water after going to the toilet and before eating.

“Any bad habits such as thumb sucking, or nail biting, should be discouraged,” Baker added.

“Wearing underwear to bed and washing each morning, with separate towels for each member of the family will stop the eggs being passed on.”

Medicine is available at pharmacies to treat threadworm, and the whole household should be treated, even if they don’t have symptoms.

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As for chickenpox, Baker said the virus presents itself by red spots that spread across the body.

“The spots then fill with liquid which become very itchy,” Baker added.

“It’s important for children to not scratch the spots so as to avoid future scarring.”

Baker said: “Remember, chickenpox is highly contagious, so keep your children out of school or nursery.”

And parents should also stay away from work for at least five days, Baker said.

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