Parasites in America – What’s Eating YOU? Any dog lover knows that their precious pet must be given heartworm medicine as protection against the infestation of this dangerous parasite. But did you know that people are exposed to multiple parasites on a daily basis, too? Nope, this isn’t just something that happens in underdeveloped countries with inferior sanitation. Research reveals over 1,000 known human parasites, and at least 300 of them are thriving in America – having gourmet meals inside our bodies! It’s estimated that more than 85% of the world’s population is currently infected with one or more type of pinworm, tapeworm, hookworm, protozoan or other pest, from microscopic size to over 20 feet long!
How do we contract parasites? We can ingest parasitic eggs by eating raw or undercooked meat and seafood, unwashed fruits or vegetables grown in contaminated soil, or by drinking contaminated water.
Parasites may also be transmitted by human or animal contact. Your precious best friend Spot may carry parasite eggs in his fur, and you contract the parasite by touching him or handling his stool; then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose without washing your hands first. This infection can then be transmitted to others in your household by touching a doorknob or some other common surface! Children are very susceptible to parasites since they handle dirt, sand, animals and come in contact with other children.
Parasites can enter through a cut, under the nails, through the mouth, nose, scalp or simply through the skin. They most commonly thrive in our intestinal tract, but can survive in the blood or organs like the brain and lungs. Many are extremely mobile – they change locations within the body.
You’re the best candidate for parasites if:
- You have ever gotten ill during or after camping or visiting a foreign country
- You love sushi with raw fish, or you eat undercooked pork, beef or poultry
- You’ve ever had food poisoning (your digestive immunities are weakened)
What are the symptoms? But for most of us, we may not even know when we have parasites, nor are many people aware of how dangerous it is to their health. It may take a long time to connect an illness with the presence of parasites – and sometimes it is never known. However, here are some common complaints:
- Gastrointestinal pain, diarrhea, inflammation of the abdomen
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome, acid reflux, nausea
- Itching, allergies and skin conditions
- Joint or muscle aches and pains
- Recurring yeast infections
Some diseases and conditions that can be caused or made worse by parasitic infections are pneumonia, malaria, appendicitis or pancreatitis; parasites have even been documented as a culprit or exacerbating factor in epilepsy and other seizures.
Testing for parasites often yields little results because conventional medical tests only recognize a few major parasites. Likewise, prescription medication targets just a few types. Anti-parasitic drugs also cause many painful and disturbing side effects like nausea, headaches and diarrhea (known as “die-off”) – and in the end, the parasite may not have been totally evicted.