Once your baby becomes mobile and is exploring your home and garden more freely, she is susceptible to parasitic worm infection. The most common (and luckily the least harmful) worm that children are affected by is the pinworm. Infestation of the pinworm in your child’s intestine can cause her to be a restless sleeper, as the female worm lays thousands of eggs around the anus at night (they are microscopic, so you won’t be able to see them). These worm eggs can cause severe itching around the anal area. If your child is infected, she may wake up crying at night due to this irritation. She will most likely be unable to tell you what is bothering her, or be able to scratch her anus due to the presence of her nappy, and will simply cry. Take the following steps is you suspect that your child may be infected:
- It is safe to de-worm your child from one year of age. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable remedy.
- Remember that the whole family (including your pets, as they may harbour other parasites too) must be treated.
- Get into the healthy habit of repeating the treatment every six months.
- At bath time every night, scrub your toddlers fingernails with a nail brush (worm eggs love to live under nails!)
- Wash your pets frequently, as their fur can harbour infective eggs.