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Whilst anyone can get a worm infestation, they are certainly more common in children. The main one we need to worry about in Australia is pinworm (threadworm). Common symptoms include an itchy bottom, disturbed sleep, irritability, fatigue and lack of interest in eating. Serious infestations can cause quite severe diarrhoea. Ultimately the best cure is prevention, which focuses on a few key areas:

Encourage appropriate hygiene practices

  • Pay particular attention with outdoor activities – watch what your child is eating and touching (common breeding grounds are sandboxes)
  • Encourage hygienic toilet and bathroom habits – always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water especially before you eat or drink
  • Make sure the child understands the importance of hygiene with animals (different worm species but hygiene is important!)
  • Keep nails short and scrub underneath fingernails
  • Make sure that if you know someone who has an infection that all bedding, clothes and areas they have come in contact with are properly cleaned and disinfected

Naturopathic prevention would include the use of probiotics to keep the bowel flora healthy and strong, encourage foods rich in Vitamin C and Zinc; and the regular use of fresh herbs and spices in cooking.

Ultimately, it is best to speak to a qualified professional who can assess the severity of the infestation. Medications are often required, however, it is advisable to follow with herbal medicines that provide strong supportive properties such as Garlic, Wormwood and Golden Seal.