PARASITE INFECTIONS ARE MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK
When it comes to parasite infections, the majority of people in America don't think they are at risk or that parasites are not that common. The truth is parasitic infections are a lot more common than you think. Keep reading to find out the truth about parasites in the modern world.
Parasitic Infections Occur Only in Poor & Developing Countries
One of the most common myths about parasitic infections is they only occur in poor and/or developing countries. This is false. The reason people tend to believe it is because parasitic infections are more common in developing countries than they are in wealthier countries. However, poor countries are not the sole places where these types of infections occur.
There are several factors that can contribute to level of risk a person is at for catching a parasitic infection. These include: living conditions, education, occupation and personal hygiene. In poorer and developing countries many people don't have access to products that help with maintaining personal hygiene. Often their living conditions are not hygienic, which is why parasitic infections are common.
The bottom line is it doesn't matter what the country is, the chances are parasitic infections can and do occur wherever you live. In some places they might be rare, but they still happen. People around the world should be informed about parasitic infections and how to prevent them. Parasitic infections can be easily treated and they are easier to catch than you might think.
PARASITE INFECTIONS IN NORTH AMERICA & NEGLECTED PARASITIC INFECTIONS
A lot of people in American believe that parasite infections are extremely rare or even non-existent. The truth is these types of infections are absolutely found in the United States. In fact, the Center for Disease Control takes public health action in regards to these infections based on several criteria. How many people have the infection, how severe the illness are and the ability to prevent, as well as treat the infection. Some of the parasitic infections found across North America include cysticercosis, cyclosporiasis, Chagas disease, toxocariasis, trichomoniasis and toxoplasmosis to name a few.
The previously mentioned diseases are considered neglected parasitic infections. The reason why they are called "neglected" is because there are only a limited number of resources that are used to better understand their burden and impact. Generally speaking, physicians might not be very familiar or know much about these parasitic infections.
Parasites & Raw Seafood
Another example that shows parasitic infections aren't as rare as one might think is that earlier this year scientists announced that they found evidence of a major increase in parasitic worms found in raw seafood. Scientists at the University of Washington led the study, and they said they found an increase in the abundance of a parasitic worm that can be transmitted to people who eat seafood that's either raw or under-cooked. In fact, since the 70s it has increased over 280-fold.
The worm in question is the herring worm. This particular parasite can find their way into the intestinal wall, which in turn can cause symptoms associated with food poisoning. These symptoms disappear within a short period of time because in most cases the worm dies within days of invading the body. The majority of people who become infected don't even know it because they just think they were dealing with food poisoning.
The herring worm is unique because it only lives for a few days once inside a human. It also can't reproduce inside a human, but it can reproduce and live on in marine mammals. When infected mammals release their feces, then the worms come out too, and this is when they can affect other animals.
As for why there has been such a massive increase of herring worms over the last 30+ years, the researchers aren't too sure. There are a number of potential reasons, such as climate change, as well as more nutrients being found in fertilizers. The bottom line is if a person consumes raw seafood, then there's a chance they can catch a parasitic infection.
Common Parasitic Infections in America
The most common parasitic infections in America and how they are caught are:
*Toxocariasis - This infection is caused by roundworms, which are known for infecting dogs and cats. Humans can accidentally ingest the parasite eggs, which can happen in a number of ways. This includes if there are eggs on their cat or dog, or they can come in contact with contaminated soil. This is one of the reasons why kids can easily get this type of infection.
*Cysticercosis - Humans become infected with this disease by ingesting pork tapeworms' eggs. The most common symptom is cysts that develop as a result of the disease. Most of the symptoms affect the eyes, skin and the central nervous system.
*Trichomoniasis - This disease is an STD and it's caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Most people who are infected with the parasite don't even realize it because many people don't show visible symptoms or symptoms that would cause them to be concern. Not only that, but different people may experience different symptoms, which is why it can be difficult to diagnose.
*Toxoplasmosis - Toxoplasma gondii is the parasite that causes this disease. The parasite is very common, and it usually infects humans after they have consumed under-cooked meat or if they came in close contact with cat feces that was infected. Another way the disease is transmitted is via giving birth.
*Chagas Disease - This disease is cause by Trypanosoma cruzi, which is a protozoan parasite. Triatomine bugs are blood-sucking insects that can pass the disease onto humans. If an infected bug sucks the blood of a human, then there's a chance they could become infected with the Chagas disease.
SYMPTOMS OF PARASITIC INFECTIONS & WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
The types of symptoms people will experience with a parasitic infection depends on several factors. This includes the type of parasite that has caused the infection and how long the person has been infected for. With that being said, some of the most common symptoms of parasitic infections include:
. Itching and redness (irritation of the skin might occur)
. Upset stomach and/or stomach pain
. Nausea and vomiting
. Weight loss
. Stomach cramps
. Flu-like symptoms
Remember, some people won't even know they are infected. Others will clearly exhibit symptoms and be hard hit by the infection. It's important to seek out medical advice if a person suspects they are dealing with a parasitic infection.
Your Body & Parasitic Infections: What Happens?
What happens to your body when a parasite enters your system depends on what type of parasite it is. Generally speaking, the majority of parasites enter the body via the mouth, such as by consuming contaminated food, putting fingers that have been contaminated into the mouth or accidentally ingesting parasite eggs after petting a dog/cat.
Once inside, the parasite makes itself at home then they begin to reproduce. If a parasite doesn't reproduce, they can still cause harm because they typically absorb most of the nutrients that enter the body. This is why humans can become very sick if they don't seek out treatment or if the parasitic infection isn't diagnosed.
The bottom line is the body experiences negative changes once it is infected with a parasite. Those exact changes and the symptoms one will experience differs from one parasite to the next. However, leaving any parasite untreated can have dire consequences, including death in some rare cases.
Treatments for Parasitic Infections
There's an array of treatments out there, and they typically include prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications including ointments and antibiotics. There are also iron supplements that people take to treat certain parasitic problems. Below is a quick rundown on the different treatments for parasitic infections, as well as the potential side effects associated with them.
*Iron Supplements - When an infected person’s iron levels are low due to a parasite depleting them, then an iron supplement might be given. However, iron supplements can cause unwanted side effects. This includes vomiting, stomach pain, upset stomach, diarrhea or constipation, as well as persistent nausea.
*Prescriptions - Side effects from using prescription medicine can include vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Other side effects include fever and headaches. Some prescription medicine can cause rashes and insomnia.
*Ointments - Ointments can also cause many of the previously discussed side effects some could even lead to hair loss.
NOTE: not everyone will experience side effects, but the risk is always there when any kind of medicine or treatment is used.
*Herbal - There are many herbal supplements that a person can take if they are dealing with a parasitic infection. The top herbal supplements include anise, grapefruit seed extract and oregano grape. Other good options include clove oil, barberry, wormwood and curled mint. Black walnut, propolis and berberine are herbal supplements that are worth trying, too.
Bear in mind that some supplements only contain one of the above active ingredients. However, there are supplements that do contain several of those ingredients. The exact herbal supplement and treatment one should try does depend on the specific parasite they have.
*Homeopathic - There's a number of homeopathic treatments for parasites that people can turn to, such as using Sulphur 200, which can help with infections that cause itchiness. Another homeopathic treatment is using the cell salt "Nat Phos 6X", which should be taken three times per day for an entire month straight. Probiotics can be taken in either supplement form or food form. There are foods that are known for being high in probiotics, so keep an eye out for them if planning to treat parasites with probiotics.
*Parasite Cleanse Diet - This is a specific type of diet that consists of consuming certain foods/drinks to treat an infection. There are many parasite cleanse diets out there, and some require a person to stay away from foods such as pork and dairy, as well as gluten. Other diets might encourage the use of foods and spices that can reduce inflammation, such as ginger, garlic and turmeric.
Those are only a few examples. However, the best diets will include taking a product, such as a specific supplement or cleansing product. The type of diet one will follow depends on what kind of infection they have.
Those are the top alternative treatments people can turn to if they have a parasitic infection. It is important to only use high quality ingredients and supplements if the alternative route is what you want to take. This will increase the chances of treating a parasitic infection successfully.
Leaving A Parasite Infection Untreated: What Happens
Leaving a parasite infection untreated can cause many problems, such as mild to moderate symptoms in the short-term, but things can become much worse as time goes by. A few of the more serious things that can happen include sepsis, bowel necrosis and even death. In some cases, perforation of the intestines can occur.
An untreated parasite infection can cause blindness. Depending on the type of parasite, the infection may lead to seizures. There are patients who have even experienced heart failure as a result of not receiving treatment for a parasitic infection.
As anyone can see, it is just a myth that parasite infections are only found in poor and/or developing countries. The good news is parasitic infections are quite easy to treat. The thing is we just have to be more aware of the symptoms associated with parasitic infections, that way we can deal with the problem much quicker. It is extremely important to pay attention to how we feel, and what symptoms we're experiencing, as well as remembering where we've been and what we were doing prior to becoming ill. This will help to determine if it is likely a parasitic infection that we are dealing with.