A parasite is an organism that lives off another organism, typically attaching itself to feed from the victim’s blood
, bowels, or other various bodily fluids. Parasitic diseases
are more common than most people realize, and can strike anyone regardless of race, age, or social status. A certain amount of parasites are normally found on the skin and bedding of every human being. Dust mites, and other tiny, harmless mites, are commonly found in all household. Harmful parasites, however, can cause a great deal of damage to the human body if not properly treated.
PARASITIC DISEASES SYMPTOMS
Parasites such as roundworms
feed off the human waste in the intestines. Symptoms of various worm infestation include itching
, usually of the anus or vaginal area, weight loss
, increased appetite, abdominal pain, bowel obstructions, vomiting
, disturbed sleep, worms present in the stools or vomit, diarrhea
, symptoms of pneumonia
, food poisoning symptoms, aching muscles or joints
, or a generally feeling of illness. These symptoms can range from barely noticeable to very severe.
PARASITIC DISEASES CAUSES
is typically caused by the parasite’s entry into the body via the skin or mouth
. It is not unusual to pick up parasitic infections from soil, typically by either walking barefoot and allowing entry through the feet, or by placing the hands in the dirt and eventually placing the fingers in the mouth. Often people carry a parasite without ever knowing it.
Image: Parasitic Disease
Parasites such as lice are caused through human contact with a person who is infected with lice. Ticks can be picked up through walking outdoors, close contact with a dog or cat, or being brought in from outside in various packages. Mosquitoes are parasites which simply attack humans for their blood and leave as quickly as they came.
PARASITIC DISEASES RISK FACTOR
Risk factors for parasites include children who play outdoors in the dirt, close contact with pets, farming, gardening, outdoor activities that include walking near wooded areas, digging in the dirt, walking outside barefoot, being in close or sexual contact with someone who has specific parasites, or sometimes simply the act of walking from the car to the house. Parasites exist in the world and can not be avoided simply by avoiding being outdoors. Parasites can be found in foods, especially undercooked or exotic foods.
Physicians typically do not screen for parasites without cause. Blood tests or fecal samples can determine parasites, but not all parasites. Pinworms require a nightly anal test, typically for three nights, where a sticky slide is placed on either side of the anus to pick up any eggs that have been laid. Analyzing the slide under a microscope can determine the presence of pinworm
Image: Parasitic Diseases
The majority of parasitic diseases are not dangerous. However, extreme cases may cause weight loss, dehydration from chronic diarrhea, symptoms which mimic pneumonia, anemia, fatigue, Lyme disease
from ticks, Malaria
from mosquitoes, or a host of uncomfortable bowel syndromes.
PARASITIC DISEASES TREATMENT
Treatment of parasitic disease is typically nothing. Most often there are no symptoms, or symptoms are so mild that there is no concern, and thus physicians are not told to consider the symptoms as a possible parasitic disease. Unless there are serious symptoms or the infestation is large enough to cause health problems, most parasitic diseases will clear up on their own.
For serious symptomatic cases, medication can be administered to kill the parasite or to relieve the symptoms caused by the parasite. Pinworm discomfort can be handled with an anti itch cream, while Lyme disease can only be treated by treating the symptoms. Medication such as mebendazole
, pyrantel pamoate, and albendazole
are effective medications in killing worm infestations.
When dealing an infestation of worms or other parasites, self care can be as simple as keeping clean. Frequent bathing, cleaning clothes and bed clothes, wearing clean underclothing to bed, and checking for parasites are the best ways to deal with a parasitic disease. Washing hands frequently, especially after outdoor activities can help reduce the chances of a parasitic disease.
PARASITIC DISEASES PREVENTION
Coping with a parasitic disease can be stressful, more so when the patient believes that parasites come from being dirty. Parasites can be contracted regardless of the cleanliness of the home. While hand
washing and overall cleanliness are positive ways to prevent parasitic infections and diseases, they in now way guarantee that parasites won’t infect a family member.