What is a Parasitic Infection?
A parasite is any organism that requires living off another organism to survive. While certain parasites do not cause any problems to their host, there are others that reproduce and invade their host’s organ systems, thus causing a parasitic infection.
Symptoms of Parasitic Infections
Parasitic infection symptoms vary according to the parasite. We are all familiar with the symptoms caused due to malaria. Intestinal parasitic infections generally show symptoms such as diarrhea, excessive flatulence, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, fever, and weight loss. You may want to read more about the signs, symptoms, and prevention of parasites in the article https://microbeformulas.com/blogs/microbe-formulas/top-tips-for-parasite-prevention-what-to-avoid-and-where-not-to-go to take timely measures for better health. Trichomoniasis infection may show no symptoms at all. In cases where symptoms are present, there could be irritation, redness, itching and an unusual discharge from the genital area. Toxoplasmosis infections show up as muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes and flu-like symptoms.
Parasites That Cause Infections
Parasitic infections are caused by the following organisms:
Protozoa – single-cell organisms that reside and reproduce in your body. Examples of protozoa infections are Malaria and Giardiasis.
Helminths – multicellular organisms are capable of surviving inside or outside your body, depending on the stage of their life cycle. Tapeworms, flatworms, threadworms, and roundworms are some of the more widespread parasites of this group.
Ectoparasites – multi-cellular organisms that live outside your body and feed off your skin. Some of the well-known ectoparasites are mites, lice, ticks, and fleas.
Transmission of Parasites
Parasites are transmitted from one host to another in several ways. Contaminated water and food, feces, soil, blood, and sexual contact are responsible for the transmission of protozoa and helminths. Certain insects are carriers for parasites and they transfer them when feeding on humans. Pets may carry parasites that can be transferred to humans on contact.
Diagnosis of Parasitic Infections
There are many ways to diagnose parasitic infections. Depending on the symptoms, an infected person may be required to undergo either or a combination of the following tests: a blood test, a stool test, a colonoscopy or an endoscopy, MRI, CAT, and/or X-rays. You may also need to undergo tests for certain bacterial infections that cause similar symptoms.
Treatment of Parasitic Infections
Depending on the type of parasitic infection and its severity, your treatment could range from medication to relieve the symptoms to medication to get rid of the parasites. In certain cases, for example, pregnancy or other serious health issues, treatment with medication may be avoided to prevent side effects.
Preventing Parasitic Infections
With medical advancement in diagnostic procedures and the discovery of safer and more efficacious drugs, the prevention of parasitic infections has become better than before. However, prevention is always better than cure. Proper hygiene, drinking clean water that has been boiled or filtered, cooking food to the recommended temperature, avoiding contact with feces, and practicing safe sex are all simple and practical methods to prevent parasitic infections.
Taking precautions and early treatment in case you are infected will help to stop the infection from spreading to other members of your family.