To survive, parasites feed upon their hosts – usually other organisms – on which they reside. There are several types of parasites; some of them have no noticeable impact on their hosts.
On the other hand, there are many other types of parasites that reproduce, grow, spread, and invade the organs and metabolic systems of humans. More often than not, they cause sickness in their hosts and leave behind agonising infections and parasitic symptoms.
Infections caused by parasites serve to be a big problem in the subtropical and tropical regions of our planet. For example, malaria ranks high on the list of infections attributed to parasites. The common types of parasitic infections impacting people in the USA are trichomoniasis, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, and toxoplasmosis.
How Can You Tell you are Infected?
The signs and symptoms of parasitic infections are varied depending on the nature of the organism causing them. For example, trichomoniasis refers to a sexually transmitted infection that produces no symptoms of its occurrence.
It’s only in certain cases that this parasitic infection causes redness, irritation, unusual discharge, itching, in the genital areas.
The challenge lies in knowing what to do if you are infected, especially when the problem shows no sign of reducing or getting better. The same rings true for a parasitic infection like giardiasis that leads to diarrhoea, upset stomach, gas, greasy stools, and dehydration.
Cause of Parasitic Infections?
Parasitic infections are usually caused by protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites. These organisms are parasitic in nature and may lead to severe complications.
For instance, protozoa refer to single-celled organisms that are capable of living and multiplying within your body. Giardiasis, caused by drinking water that’s infected with the Giardia protozoa, causes serious infections and has to be treated with care.
Generally, parasitic infections, such as those caused by helminths and protozoa, can grow and spread through waste, soil, contaminated water, food, and blood. It’s also possible to pass the infection through sexual contact.
Anyone can get infected. However, the risk of infection is more in people with weak immune systems or those who are already diagnosed with some illness.
How to Diagnose Infections Caused by Parasites?
If you feel that you’ve been infected by a parasite, then it’s recommended that you see your health specialist at the earliest.
A blood test or a faecal examination may be performed or prescribed to check for the presence of parasites or their eggs. You may also have to go through a colonoscopy or endoscopy in case the faecal exam results do not give any conclusive results.
In the case of specific parasitic infections, computerised axial tomography (CAT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can be advised along with x-rays to ascertain the presence of injuries or legions in the internal organs. Such conditions are the result of severe parasitic infections.
Treatment of Parasitic Infections
The following steps will help keep future parasitic infections at bay.
-Practising safe sex
– Washing hands with soap, regularly
– Eating food cooked to the recommended internal temperature
-Drinking clean water only, etc.
In case an infection is confirmed, you will be advised a comprehensive treatment plan in line with the results of the diagnostic tests. Along with prescribed medications, you may be advised a detox diet regimen for flushing out the toxins in your system. By getting treated early, you can prevent the spreading of parasitic infection to others.