Manhattan Gastroenterology

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Author: ShawnKhodadadian

How to Recognize You Have Parasites

Parasites are organisms that live in or on another organism, causing it harm. An organism in which parasites live is called the host. Parasites can’t survive, multiply and grow without a host because they use the host’s resources to fuel its life cycle. And worms, also called helminths, are organisms which usually invade the intestines or the stomach wall.

 

The first thing you need to know: "parasites" and "worms" is not one disease, but a large group of different infections. There are a few common features:

 

All parasites are more or less adapted to life inside a person.

They can cause significant harm to the body.

 

If an advertisement mentions parasites in general, you can be sure they want to deceive you. It’s wrong to speak about the treatment or diagnosis of parasites in general, without mentioning the specific type of infection. In terms of the treatment complexity and the possible consequences, some parasitic infections are different from others, like a light bruise from a fracture.

What Symptoms Can Parasites Cause?

In different countries, various parasitic infections are common. There are no accurate statistics on the incidence of diseases for many regions yet. However, it is impossible to talk about an epidemic: not all people are infected, but only some.

 

The most important thing to remember is that different parasitic infections can cause different nonspecific symptoms. This means that the same symptoms can be caused by many other reasons.

 

Allergy-like skin rash. Such a symptom can be observed when infected with all types of worms. If the rash is located in a particular place (for example, on the leg), it can be caused by hookworm, strongyloidiasis, toxocariasis or schistosomiasis.

Fever, weakness, chills, severe abdominal pain are characteristic of Giardiasis, opisthorchiasis, clonorchiasis, trichinosis, schistosomiasis.

Prolonged abdominal pain can be caused by ascariasis, hookworm, infection with bovine and porcine chains, diphyllobothriasis, whipworm infection, strongyloidiasis.

Attacks of epilepsy, impaired speech, gait, or coordination of movements are characteristic of echinococcosis, toxoplasmosis, toxocariasis, and cysticercosis.

How Can You Get Infected?

To reduce the risk of infection, it is not necessary to cram the mechanisms of transmission of each infection. It is enough to remember the general ways of transmission of parasitic infections and how to resist infection.

 

Eating unwashed foods, drinking dirty water. Many infections, including giardiasis, ascariasis, echinococcosis, ankylostomiasis, are transmitted through soil contaminated products and water.

Eating raw or half-baked meat or fish. Such a transmission path is characteristic of teniasis (pork tapeworm), trichinosis, diphyllobothriasis, opisthorchiasis, and other infections.

Contact with an infected person. Such a mechanism is characteristic of enterobiasis (pinworms). Most often, children are infected during games with their peers in kindergarten or school.

Contact with infected water and soil. Some parasites (for example, ankylostomiasis or schistosomiasis pathogens) can enter the body through the skin when you bathe or walk barefoot on contaminated soil.

How to Understand That You Have Parasites?

There is no analysis of blood or feces to identify all the parasites at once. Algorithms for diagnosing parasitic infections are very different and depend on what symptoms bother a person and what kind of infection a person can be infected, based on his living conditions.

If a person has any symptoms, the doctor should rule out all possible causes before diagnosing a parasitic infection.

Is It Possible to Treat Parasites with Folk Remedies?

Using folk remedies for the treatment of parasites is a bad idea. In addition, many folk remedies are irritating and cause the migration of parasites. And the latter is fraught with dangerous complications: intestinal obstruction, hemorrhoids, blockage of the biliary tract and so on.

Do I Need to Drink Antiparasitic Medications for Prevention?

No, this is the wrong tactic. First, different parasitic infections can be treated differently. Secondly, to protect against the consequences of parasitic infections, it is much more important to prevent infection, and not often to be treated. If a person continues to contact the source of the infection, the effect of the treatment lasts only a few days or weeks. But if contact stops, many parasites die without treatment.

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