Childhood Illnesses


Parents tell us they feel worried and embarrassed when they or their child have worms. Worms are very common and easy to catch, but luckily they are also easy to treat.

Worms like threadworm and ringworm are really common in the UK. Roundworm and tapeworm are usually caught abroad. Some worms are not even worms! Ringworm is actually caused by a fungal infection and not a worm at all.

Dive Deeper

 Threadworms (Pinworms)

Threadworms are small white worms that can be seen in your child’s poo or around their bottom. They cause a very itchy bottom, especially at night.

The whole family should be treated - even if they do not have symptoms yet. See your pharmacist for advice on which treatment to use if you are unsure. 

  • Wash bed linen, towels and nightclothes. Make sure underwear is worn at night whist you are treating threadworm.
  • Wipe down kitchen and bathroom surfaces with disinfectant.
  • Keep reminding everyone to wash their hands.

Your child can go to school during treatment for threadworms. It is a good idea to let the teacher know.

Find out more about threadworms


Ringworms are not a worm – they are caused by a fungal infection.

You will usually see a red and silvery ring shaped rash. If  the rash is on the face, scalp or neck it may not ring shaped. It is usually dry and itchy and may be swollen.

You can help prevent ringworm spreading with;

  • Good hand washing. Especially after touching animals.
  • Not touching or scratching the rash.
  • Washing bed linen and towels regularly.
  • Take your pet to the vet if they have bald patches. This could mean they have ringworm and need treatment.

If you are unsure, you can speak to a pharmacist. They can check it is ringworm and recommend an anti-fungal medicine. The treatment should work in 2 weeks if not you will need to see your GP.

Your child can go to school during treatment for ringworm. It is a good idea to let their teacher know.

How to Avoid Catching Worms

Having good hand hygiene habits can prevent worms being caught and passed around.

The whole family should wash their hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet, before eating and drinking and after touching pets or playing outside.

Keeping fingernails short (but not bitten!) and clean will all help avoid all kinds of worms.

Find out more about hygiene

Who can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

The Lullaby Trust - Baby Check App - This app has simple checks that you can do if your baby is ill and helps you think about whether they need to see a doctor or health professional.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.

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