On the medicinal herblist in Apr99,
>I have some questions regarding pinworms.... what kind of damage do they actually do, especially in children?
Pinworms are admirably adapted to the human host, and don't do any damage, except that you scratch your ass all the time.
If friends visit your place, and you have had pinworms for a while (which implies microscopic pinworm eggs everywhere, including your breathing air), your friends start scratching -their- asses about two weeks after their visit. Two weeks is the time it takes the eggs to grow into mature pinworms, mate, and lay eggs outside your rectum, making it itch.
Hmmmm, your friends go, trying to figure out where they might have caught it, remembering the way your cat, dog, and toddler dragged their asses along the floor. And your social life suffers. Lots.
>do they eventually leave the host?
The females make short excursions around the anus to lay their eggs (which is why the itch). Older pinworms die and are eliminated with your feces. The eggs sort of fall off. However, you get new pinworm eggs in your breathing air with every breath you take, if you live in a pinworm household.
>if it is necessary to rid someone of them, how should they go about doing it?
First you burn the pinworm house. (I once asked those in the know about vacuum cleaners. They looked at me with pity in their eyes, and sniggered.)
In your new place you start out with eating garlic religiously. Give it to your pets, too. Boil all your clothing and linen, and throw away what you can't boil.
If you visit a household where kids and pets scratch their asses all the time, eat garlic for a couple days.
That, folks, is pinworms.
Me? No, I haven't had pinworms. Whew for that!