Threadworms (pinworms) are tiny worms in your poo. They’re common in children and spread easily. You can treat them without seeing your GP.

Check if it’s threadworms

You can spot worms in your poo. They look like pieces of white thread.

A pharmacist can help with threadworms

You can buy medicine for threadworms from pharmacies. This is usually a chewable tablet or liquid you swallow.

Treat everyone in your household, even if they don’t have symptoms.

Tell the pharmacist if you need to treat a child under 2, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Treatment might not be suitable and you may need to speak to a GP.

Things you should do at home

Medicine kills the threadworms, but it doesn’t kill the eggs. Eggs can live for up to 2 weeks outside the body.

There are things you can do to stop becoming infected again.

How threadworms spread

Threadworms spread when their eggs are swallowed. They lay eggs around your anus, which make it itchy. The eggs get stuck on your fingers when you scratch. They can then pass on to anything you touch, including:

  • clothes
  • toys
  • toothbrushes
  • kitchen or bathroom surfaces
  • bedding
  • food
  • pets

Eggs can then pass to other people when they touch these surfaces and touch their mouth. They take around 2 weeks to hatch.

Children can get worms again after they’ve been treated for them if they get the eggs in their mouth. This is why it’s important to encourage children to wash their hands regularly.