This post was sponsored by Reese’s Pinworm Medicine, however all thoughts, opinions, and memories are my own.
Sometimes we moms have to resort to drastic measures. There aren’t many things that terrify me enough to resort to Machiavellian ruthlessness with my children. But, the thought of a pinworm infestation in my house is most definitely one of them.
One of my kids is rambunctious, joyful, and has the attention span of a gnat. He often forgets what he is doing, in the middle of doing it. This includes those little life hindrances, you know, like washing his hands.
Although I can’t think of anything more fun that nagging him all day, I had to resort to scaring him straight. What could possibly terrify a 10 year old boy into washing his hands more often (and also inspired everyone else in the house to be more hygienic)? Just the truth…
A tale of terror
Once upon a time, in a city far, far away (Okay, the city was only two states away but thirty something years ago is still a long time ago) lived a little girl who always had her nose in a book. Anne Shirley’s antics so entertained her that she would read for as long as she could. The little girl read all summer long and stopped only when called to dinner. She’d even forget to wash her hands. (Spoiler alert: This is where the light hearted story takes a turn into nightmare territory.)
Late one night, a mere hour or so after she put away the flashlight and book, she woke up due to an unceasing, unbearable, itch in a place she won’t talk about in polite company. She hopped in the shower reasoning that maybe she didn’t wipe well enough when she last used the restroom. Sadly, (or not) ineffective wiping was not the problem.
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She woke up her mom, who was rightfully disgusted. The disgust and shock only worsened as events unfolded over the next few days. Being a good mom, she brought her daughter to the doctor because she was as concerned as she was embarrassed. She had her hands full keeping her 8-ish year old daughter from scratching her butt in public. It’s just not ladylike. The pediatrician explained that it sounded like her daughter had a parasitic infection that is highly contagious and spreads like wildfire through schools and daycare. But, the examination (since it was conducted during the daytime and those little suckers like to crawl out of a kid’s anus and lay eggs on his or her rectum at night) didn’t confirm the diagnosis.
The doctor advised the mother to wake her daughter in the middle of the night, have her bend over with her rear in the air (in the dark), shine a flashlight on her kid’s anus, then scoop up a “sample” with a cotton swab to bring back to the doctor’s office. The pediatrician suggested she place the “specimen(s)” in a contact lens case. (Is it just me or were medical professionals kind of sadistic in the 80s?) The mother almost threw up several times through the ordeal but powered through it.
The doctor prescribed the family medicine. The mother went on an epic cleaning spree of the whole house but since cleaning is something she did for fun she didn’t really mind that part.
However, the poor little girl was plagued with nightmares involving stealthy white egg laying abominations for the rest of her life. This horror would have been prevented if she had put the book away and washed her hands before sitting down for dinner. The End.
An easy fix
Guess who’s family lost their appetite and started going through liquid hand soap at double the previous consumption rates after listening to my fond recollections?
My brush with pinworms happened in the early 80s. It must have happened to many, many children because in 1986, Reese’s Pinworm Medicine, debuted as a cost effective, embarrassment preventing, doctor recommended, and over the counter alternative to prescription treatments. It’s under $15 dollars and boasts “single dose” effectiveness. You can even get it in a 1 oz dose or a 2 oz “Family Pack.” My mom wouldn’t have had to endure the collection and multiple trips to the base hospital with me in tow if it had been available at the time. Bear in mind that I am not a medical professional and merely a hapless victim. Always consult your doctor if you have health concerns.
If you spy your little one unabashedly scratching his or her butt, take some clear tape and stick it on your child’s anus while he or she is sleeping. Gently pull it off. If there is a pinworm getting some fresh air and laying eggs, it will stick to the tape and you will see it without having to go fishing with a cotton swab like my mom. You’re welcome.
And even better, Reese just released Reese’s Pinworm Itch Relief Wipes. They are 1% Pramoxine Hydrochloride and provides itch relief while the pinworm medicine is taking affect. The medicated wipes also help keep contact with the highly contagious pinworms to a minimum. The torturous itch is nature’s way of ensuring the eggs get picked up and spread. They are then dropped where new hosts (aka family members and other children) can adopt them for free! I don’t wish that itch on anyone. I tend to break out into full body hives due to my allergies to if that puts things into perspective.
So share this horror story with your mom friends. Tell everyone you know that Reese’s Pinworm Medicinecan be found in drugstores, grocery stores, and mass retailers. Because kids, even nerdy book loving ones, can be dirty.
Read more helpful tips:
How to make flushable “butt wipes”
J. Ivy Boyter says
Well, that IS a disgusting tale, thank you very much. But, also very informative. Is it bad I need to tell this tale to my husband to get HIM to wash his hands? LOL