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Parents tell us they feel worried and embarrassed when they or their child have worms. However worms are common and easy to catch and to treat.

Some worms are not even worms!! Ringworm is actually caused by a fungal infection and not a worm at all.

Some worms are common in the UK like threadworm and ringworm.

Round worm and tapeworm are usually caught abroad - find out more below.


  • 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!


  • Can be seen in a person’s poo or around the bottom as small white worms. They cause a very itchy bottom especially at night.

    See your pharmacist for advice on treatment. (Find a pharmacy *here*).

    The whole family should be treated - even if they do not have symptoms yet.

    • Wash bed linen and nightclothes. Make sure underwear is worn at night.
    • 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.

  • A ring-shaped ringworm rash on white skin

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

    You will see a red /silvery often ‘ring shaped’ rash.

    If it is on the face, scalp or neck it may not even be ‘ring shaped’. It is usually dry and itchy and may be swollen.

    See your pharmacist (Find a pharmacy *here*). They can check it is ringworm and recommend an anti-fungal medicine.

    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.

    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 the teacher know.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. 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 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

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


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