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Worm treatments

You should be able to clear up worms by taking medicine and using good hygiene. You can buy the medicine from a pharmacy and a single dose is usually enough. Everybody living in the house needs to follow the same instructions, even if they show no signs of having worms.

Good hygiene tips include:

  • Keep your fingernails short.
  • Do not bite your nails or put your fingers in your mouth.
  • Wash your hands frequently and scrub under your fingernails, particularly before eating and after visiting the toilet.
  • Wear close-fitting underwear at night.
  • If you are scratching a lot at night, wear cotton gloves in bed.
  • Change and wash underwear, nightwear and (if possible) bed linen each day. Avoid shaking them as this also spreads eggs.
  • Have a bath or shower each morning and make sure that you clean around your anus to remove any worm eggs laid during the night.

It is not usually necessary to stay away from childcare, preschool, school or work. To prevent the risk of spreading the infection:

  • Make sure everyone in your house has their own face cloth and towel. Avoid sharing towels.
  • Don’t eat food in the bedroom, as eggs can be shaken off bedclothes and survive in dust.
  • Vacuum regularly and thoroughly.
  • Keep toilets and potties clean.

If you want to get worm medicine as well, then do as follows:

  • Buy the medicines from your pharmacy.
  • Treat all members of the family or household at the same time, even if they show no signs of having worms.

If you are using medicine, it is still important to follow the hygiene instructions above.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your worm treatments, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: October 2017

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