Parasitic Infections Are More Common Than You Think

There are over 1,000 known human parasites that can live in your intestinal tract, your blood, or many of your organs including your brain and lungs. Most people are not aware that they may have an infestation of parasites (often more than one type) nor are they aware of the dangers posed to their health by parasites. Gastrointestinal complaints such as pain, diarrhea, nausea, and perianal itching are common symptoms in many intestinal parasitic infestations. Other symptoms may be slight inflammation of the abdomen as well as unrelated pains and aches.

The Largest Intestinal Fluke: Fasciolopsis buski (see picture)
Flukes attach themselves within the mucosa of the small intestine and can livie up to one year per adult organism.

Although most parasitic infections come from our food and water sources, parasites may also be transmitted by human or animal contact. Our pets carry parasite eggs in their fur and we can contract parasitic infections by touching them, then touching our mouths, eyes, or nose without washing our hands first. This infection can be transmitted even further when we touch a doorknob or some other commonly touched surface in the home, therefore, those who live in the same household may all have the same parasitic infections, whether they are currently symptomatic or not. Children can be very susceptible to parasites since they handle pets often as well as play in sand boxes and dirt.

Other means of ingesting parasitic eggs is by handling stool and not washing hands, as time goes by this person will undoubtedly touch their fingers to their mouth, nose, eyes, or they will touch a commonly used surface. Also, eating undercooked meat/seafood or unwashed fruits/vegetables grown in contaminated soil or irrigated by contaminated water can cause parasitic infections.

Some common parasites that live in the human hosts are: Protozoan, Flukes (flatworms), Roundworms and Tapeworms. Some diseases and conditions that can be caused or made worse by parasitic infections are: gastrointestinal discomforts, pneumonia, malaria, toxoplasmosis, and obstruction of the appendix (appendicitis) or pancreatic ducts (pancreatitis) just to name a few.

Human parasitic infections are more common than you think and often under diagnosed, in fact, it is estimated that 85% of population already has contracted parasites. Prevention is of utmost importance. Cooking meat and fish thoroughly and practicing good hygiene are two ways to help prevent a parasitic infection.

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