It was the morning of Mother’s Day and there I was, flush from a great night’s sleep awaiting my tray of croissants and barista-made coffee to be delivered to my lap by my two cherubic children as the sun streamed in through the window…
That part may have been a dream as the first thing I actually remember about last Sunday was my seven-year-old son Toby, bounding into our bedroom to say:
“Muuuuummmmm, I’ve got worms in my poo.”
Happy Mother’s Day to me!
Funnily enough my husband Jules and I had been having a middle-of-the-night conversation on the subject of worms after being woken up by our 15-month-old second son, Leo.
“I think we need to worm the cat,” I said. “He won’t stop eating and we haven’t wormed him for a while.” “Hmmphhh,” murmured Jules from under the duvet, leading me to consider Toby.
“Come to think of it, Toby has been going to the loo a lot and he has been scratching his bum, do you think he has worms too?” To which I got another inaudible but supportive reply. Fast forward three hours and I had the slightly bitter satisfaction of having my 3am worming suspicions confirmed.
I have heard of instances where parents decide to verify their child’s itchy bottom complaints, by taking a good look using a torch. “It’s amazing to see all these worms literally wriggling around down there,” said one school mum in the café to me this morning as I relayed my Mother’s Day tale of woe.
I am sure it might be amazing for parents with strong constitutions, but I was willing to take Toby’s word for it, coupled as it was with my middle-of-the-night motherly suspicions.
Following Toby’s exciting revelation, Mother’s Day morning was then spent ransacking cupboards looking for old boxes of worming medication, knowing that the pharmacy wouldn’t be open for at least three hours. We told Toby to hop into the shower, to wash thoroughly and then we burnt his bedroom down.
Well, I thought about it, but instead we put a large load of washing on (with extra washing powder) and googled, ‘can you get worms from cats’.
According to Australian cat- lovers website, Cat-World, apparently you can, but they don’t develop in the same way as they do in cats, and so it was much more likely that Toby picked up his worms, which were of the common ‘threadworm’ variety, from a fellow human being. Nice.
Mr Duke the cat was exonerated as the culprit, but we did still worm him as a preventative measure, because worming was fun (and recommended) for the whole family.
The great thing about having worms, which is a sentence you will only ever hear from the mouth of a parent, is that it is easy to treat. At 9am we were first through the door of the pharmacy to request a family-sized pack of their finest chocolate flavoured worming tablets.
Friends of ours have told us that when a worming outbreak happens in their house, everyone is happy as it means enforced eating of chocolate squares. You can get banana flavoured ones, but honestly, why would you bother?
While I would have preferred Lindt or Cadbury over Combantrin chocolates for Mother’s Day, on the positive side, they were tasty and had the added benefit of saving me from scratching my bum.
Hopefully we are all cured – for now at least, and it has been a real reminder of the importance of washing our hands. Worms while disgusting and uncomfortable for the sufferer, are at least easy and quick to get rid of. I am just grateful it wasn’t nits, which I am sure will be heading my way soon, perhaps in time for my birthday.
Have you had to treat worms in your kids? Read more about treating threadworms in kids here.