Two of the most common childhood parasites in Canadian schools are head lice and pinworms.
When kids are clustered together in classrooms, it’s a prime time for parasites to go body-hopping. These infestations can be more than mildly uncomfortable, and can sometimes pose risks for additional problems like skin infections. Do you know how to recognize the signs your child has parasites – at the top or at the bottom?
Head lice are mainly spread by hair-to-hair contact, or by sharing things like hats, combs, brushes, or headphones. Head lice do not jump or fly, but crawl very quickly. They cannot be spread by pets. Having head lice does not mean you are not clean.
Head lice cause itching and a sensation that something is moving in the hair. Sometimes, due to itchiness and subsequent scratching, head lice can cause sores on the scalp, on the nape of the neck, or around the ears.
How to deal with head lice:
Children catch pinworms by swallowing the parasite’s eggs. This can happen if an affected child scratches his bottom, then contaminates a surface or touches another child with his fingers. Poor food preparation can also result in transmission of pinworms.
Pinworms often cause intense nighttime itching around the anus, or in the vaginal area on girls. Children may have difficulty sleeping, be irritable, or have a loss of appetite. Sometimes there are no symptoms. The “tape test” (patting the anal area with a piece of clear sticky tape to pick up eggs, which can be seen under a microscope) is an easy way to collect the evidence.
How to deal with pinworms:
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