Prevention & Control

Washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet, changing diapers, and before handling food is the most successful way to prevent pinworm infection. In order to stop the spread of pinworm and possible re-infection, people who are infected should bathe every morning to help remove a large amount of the eggs on the skin. Showering is a better method than taking a bath, because showering avoids potentially contaminating the bath water with pinworm eggs. Infected people should not co-bathe with others during their time of infection.

Also, infected people should comply with good hygiene practices such as washing their hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet, changing diapers, and before handling food. They should also cut fingernails regularly, and avoid biting the nails and scratching around the anus. Frequent changing of underclothes and bed linens first thing in the morning is a great way to prevent possible transmission of eggs in the environment and risk of reinfection. These items should not be shaken and carefully placed into a washer and laundered in hot water followed by a hot dryer to kill any eggs that may be there.

In institutions, day care centers, and schools, control of pinworm can be difficult, but mass drug administration during an outbreak can be successful. Teach children the importance of washing hands to prevent infection.

More on: Handwashing

Page last reviewed: January 10, 2013