It may be difficult to believe, but more than 90% of humans will be infected with parasites within their lifetime! Most of the time we don’t even realize that we have them, and until such time that their numbers reach critical levels, we will ignorantly go about our business doing what we have always done. There is an enormous array of different parasites that any of us may be infected with, but we will deal with the most common ones within this article.
Parasites are everywhere! For example, they often begin their cycle in nasty places, such as in faecal matter. They then find their way onto pets, then it’s not long before they are in your carpets, and with a very little warning they have found their way into your body. Once they travel here, they can happily remain undetected for years! It’s an unpleasant thought to realize that whilst we sleep, they are still wriggling away inside!
Believe it or not, but at any one time, over 90% of the world’s population is struggling with these nutrient stealing and energy robbing microscopic organisms. Most of us would be shocked to find out that there are over 1000 different type of parasites that can infect the human being. What’s even more troubling is that only 1% of these guys will show up in regular stool analysis carried out under conventional testing.
Be that as it may, the most common parasites that you will come up against are Giardia, Hookworms, Flukes, Pinworms, Roundworms and Tapeworms. Each Parasite is disturbing in their own right. If you suspect that you have been infected then read on for symptoms.
Roundworms: This may shock you, but the World Health Organization has reported that over 25% of the world’s population is infected with roundworm. In real figures that are roughly about 1 billion people infected with this parasite. These guys can grow up to 15 inches long within the intestines and can lay more than 300,000 eggs within a single day. Roundworms reproductive cycle is very quick, and within two months they also can begin to lay eggs. Roundworms are hugely sensitive to conventional worming medication (worms over 10 inches long though tend to be more difficult to extricate). In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove them, followed by considerable nutritional support to replenish the nutrient vacuum that occurs in such cases.
Pinworms: These little guys are fairly prolific as well, and over 500,000 million individuals are currently infected worldwide. Pinworms are often responsible for the intense itching around the anus at night. If you are at the itching stage, this means that you have most likely had them for at least 2 – 3 months. After you go to sleep, these guys often sneak out and lay their eggs on the skin directly surrounding the anus.
To confirm a pinworm infestation the stools, need to be inspected with a torch. If they are there, they will be glowing and be roughly one-third of an inch long. One way to confirm their presence is to place a strip of tape on the tissue surrounding the anus and then remove it to examine it for worms or eggs. Pinworms are enormously contagious and can spread throughout a household very quickly. Make sure fingernails are kept short so as to minimize contamination whilst scratching when asleep, and shower at least once per day, as well as keeping your clothing, bed sheets, and carpet as clean as possible.
Giardia: This is one of the most common parasites found in water. It is resistant to chlorine and can survive in cold water for two months. It is more resistant than most other parasites due to its hard outer shell.
Most of the time infections come from swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, ponds and rivers. It usually takes a week before symptoms appear, and these will be diarrhoea, nausea, gas, cramps and greasy stools. The main drug prescribed for this is called Furoxone.
Hookworms: These are one of the nastiest looking parasites out there. Hookworms usually enter through the skin of the feet or other areas of skin and then migrate via the bloodstream to the lungs and intestines. You may have redness or itchiness where the newly hatched larvae have entered the skin, and then show signs of wheezing, a dry cough, and blood-tinged sputum. If in the intestine, you will lose your appetite, suffer hugely from diarrhoea, and quite often profound abdominal pain.
Flukes: These guys are considered to be the second biggest danger to society after the Malaria parasite. The World Health Organization has been attempting to control this parasite in third world countries for many years now. Flukes like to call blood vessels home, and often pass their eggs on through faeces and urine.
Over 200 million people are infected with Fluke, and symptoms include chills, fever, and sometimes a cough. The body tends to have a major problem with the eggs and not so much the worms themselves. Repeated infection can lead to liver, lungs, bladder and intestine damage.
Tapeworms: This is where it gets interesting, as these guys can grow to a length of over 20 feet long! If you suspect that you are infected with one make sure that you keep an eye on your stool, as pieces tend to break off them from time to time. As long as the head remains embedded in the intestinal tissue, the worm will continue to grow. The most common mode of infection is through the consumption of cattle – so cook your meat well!
In closing, parasites are everywhere. We are talking kids, dogs, cats and adults. There are many precautionary things one can do such as washing your hands, being careful with the water you drink, and cooking your food. For more info or help go to Comet Bay Vet Hospital.