Parasite Infection

UNDERSTANDING PARASITES, SYMPTOMS OF INFECTION AND IMPACT ON YOUR HEALTH

The idea that you have a parasite can be frightening, but they occur all the time. It is a common myth that parasites are only found in developing countries, anyone can carry parasites with some showing symptoms and others not.

Some people are more susceptible than others to infection and a simple checklist for possibility of infection includes if you:

  • have a compromised immune system or are already sick with another illness
  • have sex without a condom
  • live or travel in tropical or subtropical regions of the world
  • lack a clean supply of drinking water
  • swim in lakes, rivers, or ponds where Giardia or other parasites are common
  • work in childcare, work with soil regularly, or work in other contexts where you come into contact with faeces on a consistent basis
  • work or live with animals
  • handle uncooked meat or fish regularly
  • eat raw fish or meats that have not been well cooked

With the above list, you can understand just how easy it is to contract parasitic infection! We hope to show that it is nothing to be embarrassed about, parasites are extremely common and people can come into contact with them frequently.

 

WHAT ARE PARASITES?

 

A parasite is defined as being an organism that lives within and feeds from the host organism.

With humans the parasite can consume nutrients leaving the person weakened and vulnerable to virus, bacteria and indeed other parasites.

Some parasites actually consume the host its living within, surviving and thriving of human tissue to sustain, grow and multiply itself in the body.

It is horrific to think of these ‘monsters inside us’ and indeed they do look like something from the latest horror movies special effects team…you can see where these fiction creations are inspired from!

Signs You May Have a Parasite Infection

Once you’ve consumed or been exposed to the contaminated substance containing the organism, the parasites travel into your body. Then they reproduce and grow in the intestine and other areas. Once they reproduce and become larger in amount and size, symptoms and signs may appear. Here are a few of the recognised symptoms parasites may cause.

 

  • You have unexplained constipation, diarrhoea, gas, or other symptoms of IBS
  • You travelled internationally and remember getting traveller’s diarrhoea while abroad
  • You have a history of food poisoning and your digestion has not been the same since.
  • You have trouble falling asleep, or you wake up multiple times during the night.
  • You get skin irritations or unexplained rashes, hives, rosacea or eczema.
  • You grind your teeth in your sleep.
  • You have pain or aching in your muscles or joints.
  • You experience fatigue, exhaustion, depression, or frequent feelings of apathy.
  • You never feel satisfied or full after your meals.
  • You've been diagnosed with iron-deficiency anaemia.

 

However, parasites can pass on a wide variety of conditions, so symptoms are hard to predict. Often there are no symptoms, or symptoms appear long after infection, but the parasite can still be transmitted to another person, who may develop symptoms.

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