Alice, Should I Tell Upcoming Houseguests My Husband Has Pinworms?

Alice, Should I Tell Upcoming Houseguests My Husband Has Pinworms?

Ask Alice
Mar 21, 2016
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Allard Laban)

Hi Alice,

My husband recently discovered he has pinworms, a worm parasite. While disgusting, they’re extremely common (the doctor said more so than lice) and cause no harm other than an unpleasant itch. Pinworms are very infectious, so when one member of the household gets them, everyone has to take medication.

The other half of the cure is practicing extreme hygiene - washing towels after every use, daily vacuuming in the bedroom and disinfecting surfaces for a few weeks. We’ve started medication and spent the day disinfecting the house and all of our linens. Next week, we’re supposed to welcome some houseguests who are traveling across the country for a week-long stay. While the doctor told us that it’s safe to have house guests over, I feel like the considerate thing to do is let them know we’re being treated for this. How would you break the news and what would be expected of us to provide if they don’t want to stay with us?

I’m wriggling with anticipation to hear your answer(s).


Dear Wriggling,

First, this sounds not at all fun for you and your husband so I'm sorry. Second, I believe you definitely need to let your guests know before they travel. I would break it to them very matter-of-factly, similar to how you described the situation to me. Although your doctor didn't discourage you from having houseguests, a little Googling about pinworms has me concerned that this upcoming visit it too close to the infection. Even if chances of contagion are low (the internet seems more alarmist about this than your doctor), hosting guests and having both of you worrying about it sounds very stressful. If they are able to visit and stay in a hotel, I'd recommend it. If you're in a position to chip in for their hotel costs, that would be considerate although not necessary. If they can't swing a hotel or other accommodations, I think they should scrap the visit, unfortunately.


Readers, what do you think, am I overreacting?

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