A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.
Although unpleasant and something we’d rather not talk about too much on the whole, worm infections are quite commonplace. They particularly occur in school-age children as they often share books, toys, food etc. That said, worm infections can and do affect the entire family, regardless of age and hygiene habits.
The most common worms in the UK are threadworms. Threadworms are a kind of parasite that live in the lower intestine. They are tiny worms that look like little pieces of white thread around 5-10mm in length. You tend to find these little creatures when they come out in your poo, or you may find them around your child’s anus. Female worms lay eggs at night or in the early morning around the anus, each female can lay up to 10,000 eggs. The eggs are so tiny you can hardly see them, you can fit 1000 eggs on a pinhead. Because you can’t see the eggs it’s really easy for them to be transferred from place to place or hand to hand and then be ingested spreading the infection to those around you.
Other types of worm infection:
- Tapeworms: flat intestinal worms made up of many small segments. White rectangular segments measuring 1-3cm can be found in your stools.
- Whipworms: these are most common in warm climates.
- Roundworms: roundworms are cream coloured and look like earthworms. A tangled ball of worms may pass out in your stool.
These types of worm infection are less common in the UK, but it is always worth knowing about the different types and the different treatments they require. They can all be treated with the same drug, mebendazole, but the dosages and timescales differ.
If you or your child get worms it is important to remember that this is not a sign of how clean your house or family is. You can get worms eggs on your hands and accidently swallow them without knowing. It happens surprisingly easily. Usually when you come into contact with another person who has worms or even just something the person has touched and left worm eggs on without knowing it.
Worms spread most easily in children. The cycle goes like this:
- The worm infection makes the child’s bottom itch, so the child scratches.
- The scratching transfers eggs to the child’s hands.
- The eggs are then transferred to anything the child touches, other children, cutlery, toys, worktops, tables, door handles etc.
- Then, when another person touches any of these things the eggs are transferred to their hands.
- The final step in the cycle is when this person touches their face or mouth area and then ends up ingesting the eggs that then go on to live in their gut and repeat the same egg-laying process.
Once a worm infection takes hold in your house it can be hard to get rid of for this reason. This means you need to treat every member of your household with medicine to kill the worms and also wash bedding, use separate towels and wash cloths and disinfect your bathroom and toilet to prevent the cycle from continuing.
Symptoms to look out for with a threadworm infection are:
- Itching around the bottom, particularly at night
- Irritability and waking up at night- possible bed wetting
- Reduced appetite
- Teeth grinding
- Weight loss
- Swollen vagina
The easiest way to tell if your child has worms is to spot them in their poo. The worms usually come out at night and lay eggs. Wearing underwear at night and changing in the morning can help to prevent the eggs transferring to bed sheets.
It is easy to treat worm infections and there are medicines for the whole family available from a pharmacist. Vermox is one of these. It treats all kinds of worm infection.
What is Vermox?
Vermox is an effective treatment adults and children over 2 years for intestinal worm infections caused by threadworm, roundworm, whipworm and hookworm. Vermox tablets contain the active ingredient mebendazole which is a type of medicine called anthelmintic. This basically means it’s for parasitic worms. Mebendazole kills the worms by preventing them from absorbing the sugar, this means they cannot get the energy they need and die. It takes a few days for the treatment to work, but once it does your symptoms will be eliminated. Once Vermox has killed the worms inside your gut, the dead worms and larvae come out of your body in your poo. Vermox does not kill the eggs.
How do you use Vermox?
When it comes to treating threadworm, Vermox is a one-time treatment that is easy to use. It comes in a chewable tablet. You can also simply swallow the tablet without chewing or crush the tablet if need be, to help children taking it. To break the cycle of infection within your household the whole family should be treated including adults (please note children under 2 and pregnant women cannot take Vermox). As Vermox only kills adult worms and not their eggs you may need to take a second course of treatment around two to three weeks after the first. Simply check for worms around three weeks after the first dose and if you find any ensure that the whole family is treated a second time.
Threadworm eggs can live for up to two weeks outside the body so follow these tips alongside your Vermox treatment to prevent reinfection:
- Wash hands thoroughly and scrub under fingernails -particularly after using the toilet, changing nappies and before eating.
- Keep fingernails short.
- Shower every day: a shower is more effective at rinsing away eggs than a bath.
- Wash pyjamas, bedding, towels, washcloths and soft toys (at a normal temperature).
- Disinfect kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
- Vacuum and dust with a damp cloth.
- Wear underwear at night and change it in the morning.
- Avoid shaking bedding, towels etc. to prevent eggs from landing on other surfaces.
- Avoid sharing towels and flannels.
- Keep hands away from mouth, do not suck thumb or fingers, bite nails etc.
What dosages are there?
Vermox comes in a 100mg chewable tablet. You can take the tablet with or without food. You should always follow the instructions of your doctor or pharmacist when it comes to dosage. The dosage depends on the type of worm infection, here is a quick guide:
- Threadworm: 1 tablet, once. Check for worms after around 3 weeks and repeat if required
- Roundworm, hookworm or whipworm: 1 tablet every morning and 1 tablet every evening for 3 consecutive days.
If you take more Vermox than you should contact your doctor straight away or go to the casualty department at hospital. If you forget to take a dose of your Vermox treatment
- Do not take the missed dose.
- Take the next dose at the usual time and carry on taking as normal.
- Do not double your dose.
Vermox is sold in packs of twelve.
Remember you will need to take other preventative measures around your home (wash bedding, good hand hygiene etc. see How to use Vermox for more details) to avoid becoming re-infected once the adult worms have been killed. Vermox does not kill the eggs. Adults and children take the same dose of Vermox which makes it really easy to treat the whole family without a fuss.
What are the side effects of Vermox?
As with all medicines there is a risk of side effects when taking Vermox. Not everyone will suffer from side effects. On the whole the side effects with Vermox are relatively few. Stop using Vermox and contact your doctor straight away if you notice or suspect any of the following serious side effects, you may need urgent medical treatment for a severe allergic reaction:
- Swelling around the face and throat
- Hives, blistering on your skin or around you mouth, eyes or genitals
- Convulsions (fits)
Common side effects, affecting 1 in 10 people are:
- Stomach ache
Stomach ache can also be caused by the worm infection.
Uncommon side effects, affecting 1 in 100 people are:
- Stomach discomfort
Rare side effects, affecting less than 1 in 100 people are:
- Inflammation of the liver
- Changes in liver enzymes (shown in blood test)
- Reduction in white blood cells (shown in blood test): this may make you more prone to infections
- Unusual hair loss
If you experience side effects that are difficult to deal with speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
When shouldn’t you use Vermox?
You should not take Vermox if you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant or might become pregnant. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about taking Vermox if you are breastfeeding. Vermox should not be given to children under 2 years of age.
Do not take Vermox if you are allergic to mebendazole or any of the other ingredients in the tablet: the other ingredients are microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate, talc, maize starch, sodium saccharin, magnesium stearate, cottonseed oil hydrogenated, orange flavour, colloidal anhydrous silica, sodium laurilsulfate, sunset yellow (E110). Vermox contains 0.06 of sunset yellow (E110), this ingredient may cause allergic reactions. Taking Vermox should not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. Vermox is not affected by alcohol.
Does Vermox interact with other medications?
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medication to check that it is safe to use Vermox. This includes vitamins, dietary supplements and herbal medicines. It is particularly important that you mention if you are taking:
- Metronidazole: for certain infections
- Cimetidine: for excess stomach acidity
Where can you buy Vermox?
Vermox is available at pharmacies nationwide, you can order online or pop in to your local pharmacy. Please speak to a doctor or pharmacist before you take Vermox if there is anything you are unsure of.
Can I get Vermox without a prescription?
Yes, you do not need a prescription to purchase Vermox, you can see for yourself if you have worms by checking your poo. Vermox is an over the counter medicine available at pharmacies. If you have any queries with regards to taking Vermox or you need to check any contraindications with regards to medicines then you can check these with a pharmacist, you do not need to make a doctor’s appointment.
JANSSEN-Cilag SpA Package Leaflet Vermox 100mg tablets. (May 2016). Retrieved from https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.975.pdf
NHS UK Threadworms. (December 2017). Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Threadworms/
Radiant Health Ltd About Vermox. (n.a.). Retrieved from https://vermox.co.nz/about-vermox/
Radiant Health Ltd Symptoms of worm infection (n.a.). Retrieved from https://vermox.co.nz/types-of-symptoms/
Radiant Health Ltd What are threadworms? (n.a.). Retrieved from https://vermox.co.nz/what-are-threadwarms/
Radiant Health Ltd What to do when your child has worms? (n.a.). Retrieved from https://vermox.co.nz/what-to-do-when-your-child-has-worms/