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Pinworms and Other Parasites in Human Beings (With Pictures)

Worms That Are Parasites on Humans

Most worms that infect humans reside in the intestinal tract. They spread through poor sanitation, or through consuming food or drinking water contaminated with worm eggs.



At night female pinworms come out from the rectum to lay thousand of eggs around the anus.

At night female pinworms come out from the rectum to lay thousand of eggs around the anus.

Adult female pinworms reside in the large intestine.

Adult female pinworms reside in the large intestine.


  • Small white worms shorter than 1/2 inch.
  • The most common parasitic worm in much of the world.
  • Pinworms afflict mostly children. Kids at play can pick up pinworm eggs in their fingernails from the ground and from the toys they handle.
  • The eggs can likewise be picked up from toilet seats, bedding, clothing and other objects. They can stay on a child's skin for several hours.
  • They can survive for up to three weeks on clothes, bedding and toys.
  • Without their knowing, children swallow some of the eggs that they carry, especially if they are thumbsuckers or have the habit of putting their fingers in their mouth. Lighter eggs become airborne and can be inhaled and swallowed.
  • Pinworm eggs inside the human body reside in the upper part of the intestine until they hatch.
  • After they hatch, the worms, which look like tiny straight pins, move down the length of the intestine.
  • At night, while the afflicted child sleeps, the female pinworm comes out from the rectum to lay thousand of eggs around the anus, causing skin irritation and severe anal itching.
  • Itching triggers scratching the anus, which results in some of the eggs being transferred to the hands and fingernails; if they are carried to the mouth and swallowed, the cycle of infestation occurs anew.


  • Enter the body as eggs carried in contaminated water, food or soil-contaminated hands.
  • Some may get into the body through the skin. Adult roundworms look like earthworms and are sometimes found in the stool or vomit.
  • They grow in the intestines from one millimeter to one meter long.
  • Roundworm infestation is more common in places with warm and tropical climates.
  • Roundworm infestation, known as ascariasis, affects one billion people worldwide.
  • Signs and symptoms of ascariasis include coughing, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea, blood in the stool, weight loss, fatigue and presence of worms in vomit or stool.
Hookworm mouth (note the hooks)

Hookworm mouth (note the hooks)


  • Infect about 25% of the world's population.
  • The eggs leave the body with the stool and hatch two days later in the soil.
  • The larvae enter the human body through the skin, usually through the soles of children and others who go barefoot.
  • They transfer to the lungs and are coughed up and swallowed.
  • They then take up residence in the small intestine where they attach themselves to its wall and feed on the person's blood.
  • A large infestation of hookworms can cause iron-deficiency anemia and abdominal pain.


  • Their life cycle is similar to that of hookworms.
  • They can cause coughing, shortness of breath and even pneumonia when lodged in the lungs.
  • In the small intestine, they can produce abdominal pain and severe diarrhea.
Head of a pork tapeworm (Taenia solium) and of a beef tapeworm (Taeniarhynchus saginatus)

Head of a pork tapeworm (Taenia solium) and of a beef tapeworm (Taeniarhynchus saginatus)


  • Tapeworms are flatworms that affect humans when they eat undercooked pork, beef or fish that contain cysts of larvae.
  • These cysts develop into their adult stage in the intestinal tract.
  • They may grow up to 30 feet in length.
  • Their bodies are made up of hundreds of segments called proglottids which contain eggs.
  • Each mature segment which contain both male and female reproductive structures breaks off from the tapeworm posterior and passed in the stool to begin a new life cycle.
  • Most tapeworm infections are asymptomatic; others may cause anemia, diarrhea and pain.

Medical treatments

  • Worms are treated primarily with medications called antihelminthics.
  • Pinworms, hookworms and roundworms are usually eradicated with pyrantel pamoate (antiminth) or mebendazole (vermox).
  • A single dose is effective, but a follow-up dose is recommended to eliminate all eggs and larvae.
  • If a child in the family is afflicted with pinworms, his siblings and the adults who live with him should also be dewormed.
  • Tapeworms can be eliminated with niclosamide (niclocide) or praziquantel (Biltricide).
  • All of these medications should be taken in consultation with your family doctor.

Treatment and Prevention

  • Clean the entire house on the same day that medication is taken.
  • Wash towels, face towels, bed linens and clothing in hot water, using a strong detergent and bleach.
  • Clean and disinfect the bathroom.
  • Sterilize, disinfect and rinse thoroughly toys and other objects.
  • Trim fingernails.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet.
  • Wash hands with soap and water before and after eating.
  • Don't go barefoot outdoors.
  • Cook beef, pork and fish until they are well-done.


Mj on April 20, 2019:


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Telina from Anniston on July 21, 2018:

I have tiny white worms coming from my skin they bite at times they also are on my face and they crawl in my eyes I also itch pretty bad at times what do you think it could be

Telina from Anniston on July 21, 2018:

I have tiny white worms coming out of my skin sometimes they bite their own my face as well as my body and they get in my eyes can you tell me what you think they might be?

Kristen on October 24, 2015:

I see some people asking if there is something they can do at home and yes is the answer a good does of garlic will do the trick here how it work eat it raw or slice it up put it on some bread and butter and do this for a wile a week or so and you will be fine

IDCCODH on August 12, 2015:

Hi! I am doing a presentation for new school nurses, and I would LOVE to use the photo you posted of pinworms (the one on the green background with the ruler) in my PowerPoint presentation. May I have your permission to use it?

Awesome one 95 on March 26, 2015:

At least now I know pinworms are harmless thank goodness

nick071438 (author) from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines on January 22, 2015:

I'm sorry, but this is what I can tell you. According to, here are facts about parasites that live in human bodies:

Alimentary tract (digestive system): 197 species

Cavities, organs and tissues: 107 species

Circulatory system (blood and heart): 21 species

Skin and tissues: 56 species

Thanks for asking. on March 29, 2014:

I noticed a fat flat short white almost round in diameter in my stool .I have severve stomach pains and other ailments to go along with it .what kind of parasit could this be.

nick071438 (author) from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines on July 13, 2013:

Hi jaiden abbas, get rid of your threadworms. Your doctor is competent and knows best how to expel them.

violette, thanks for your good feedback. I was happy to hear it.

mell, thanks for writing. any kind of worm in the body isn't good. Your health authorities will get rid of them for you. Trust them.

Hali, God gives you your Mom and Dad and your doctor as well. Trust them to easily get pinworms out of your system. Observe personal hygiene always. Avoid long fingernails, etc.

Hali. on July 10, 2013:

I think I might have pinworms. I have little tiny white worms in my poop. Is there something over the counter I could take.. Scared to talk to my dad bout it. Don't want to go to the doctor and them lookin at my junk.. Any suggestions..

mell on May 26, 2013:

after having dis diaharrea i saw that i ave some smallwhite worms,can u pls tell me is dis abad or not replyASAP

violette on May 10, 2013:

i recently read about worms in bio,,,,,,,,,, and believe me i learnt a lot from this piece..

jaiden abbas on March 19, 2013:

i am a kid and i am infected with tredworms

nick071438 (author) from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines on October 29, 2012:

Hi, Endien! I believe there's something bad in you. Your decision to consult your doctor is a wise one. I hope your illness isn't one like this:

Endien on October 29, 2012:

Been 3 weeks already. Doctor prescribed "antiox" and had it 2 weeks ago with a follow-up of another one this week. At first, i thought it was okay cause I felt relieved. I also noticed that after taking the med, my poop was changed from dark to yellow/brown in color. After several days, i felt it again--- anus and vagina itching. The movement inside my stomach is so strong, I also feel the pain under my eyes as if they want to pass out. Headache is more often now. I couldn't sleep. I need to go back to my doctor.

nick071438 (author) from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines on October 06, 2012:

Hi amber! A doctor is a friend. With your mom, go see the doctor about your problem. He knows best.

amber on September 07, 2012:

holie crap theres a worm in my poop wht do i do if i don't want to go to the doctors is there a way i can get rid of them at my house with out a doctor or is a doctor nessisary im only 14 and don't wanna have to go to the doctors

hate doctors

nick071438 (author) from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines on June 08, 2012:

lansah nurudeen, thanks for writing. I am referring you to the following link where there are sites that may help you solve your medical problem. You may ask your personal questions there:

lansah nurudeen on June 08, 2012:

i have worms in my throat after i have taken a De-wormer,please help me call me 0201401084 in Ghana

nick071438 (author) from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines on March 31, 2012:

GmaGoldie, thanks very much for the visit and concern about health. Walking barefooted could be pleasant but there are risks involved. Here are some:

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on March 31, 2012:


This is a critical health item so glad you have written about this difficult topic.

A couple of months back, I had seen a cable program about a doctor from India who had a terrible threat to his life and they attributed to his youth and going barefoot in India.

Right after that I read about Rothschild wanting to go barefoot and while I normally support him, I stated my concern for his health going barefoot.

What is it about the feet that make us susceptible? Just more contamination underfoot or do they enter through wounds or scraps on the feet?

nick071438 (author) from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines on February 09, 2012:

Health is paramount concern for all. I agree with you denden that clams should be boiled well to insure that they're safe for the body.

denden mangubat from liloan, cebu, philippines on February 09, 2012:

food should be cook properly to kill these friends and i used to collect clams when tide is low here in liloan and i manage to cook it because i know some contain worms.i boiled them properly

nick071438 (author) from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines on November 17, 2009:

I haven't myself tasted "sushi" and I think it's a cousin to our "kinilao" of fish or shellfish- where it's eaten raw dipped in vinegar mixed with lemon juice and sliced onion. I believe sushi is as okay and palatable to the taste as our kinilao- but the bottom line is they must be consumed with the full guarantee of local health authorities that they are clean and free of tapeworm cysts, etc. Thank you very much- Kim- for your interest in this hub.

Kim Garcia on November 14, 2009:

Very good Hub and very informative!! I don't think people are truly aware of how easily these worms are infested into the human body. What is your opinion on eating Sushi?? Thanks for the info!!

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