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Are Parasites’ Infection Harmful to Human Health?

A parasite is an organism that lives within or on a host. The host is another organism. The parasite uses the host’s resources to fuel its life cycle. It uses the host’s resources to maintain itself.

What Is A Parasite?

They can reproduce very rapidly. When hosts eat, parasites eat. They are “live on”, “stole food” or “eat directly” from a food source (host). Parasites include common types such as roundworm in the small intestine, parasitic ticks on dogs, lice parasites, and bloodsucking on the scalp of humans.

1. What Is Parasitic Infection?

What is a parasitic infection? A parasitic disease, also known as parasitosis, is an infectious disease caused or transmitted by a parasite. They can affect practically all living organisms, including the human body, mammals, and plants. Parasites can cause disease directly, but other organisms can cause disease by the toxins that they produce.

Not all parasites are harmful to the host's body. However, if the patient is infected with harmful parasites, the risk of health effects is very high. For worldwide statistics, the mortality rate due to parasite infection is up to 14,000,000 cases.

2. How  Do Parasites Enter The Human Body?

How do parasites enter the human body? There are several parasites in the environment and when they get into a person's body, his/her health can be affected. Some parasites enter the body by way of contaminated food or water and they easily live on the human body. 

Water

Water is the habitat of many parasites, including:

  • Parasites in the larvae stage live on sea animals such as fish, shrimp, and crab.
  • Unicellular animals live in polluted water such as flagella, hookworms.

Humans drink contaminated water which will allow harmful substances to enter the body more easily.

Food

Every day, we eat the cooked foods in many different restaurants and other places or we cook at home. Mostly the food that is unwashed, unprocessed, and some raw undercooked foods have parasites lurking. Here are some that can spread through these foods to enter the human body, causing parasitic infections.

Some unhealthy eating habits are sources of infection such as: Eating raw beef, raw fish salad, raw fruit that has not been washed thoroughly, restaurants of unsecured quality, seafood…

Animal

Nowadays, many people have pets like dogs and cats. If you don’t ensure that your pets are clean, it can be a health risk to pet owners. Parasites can be spread from pets to humans if you contact your pet through petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sleeping in the same bed, or touching your pet’s poop. Especially children do not clean their hands and feet after they play with their pets.

Environmental pollution

When the living environment is not guaranteed to be clean every day it will be full of mold and moisture. It is an ideal condition for parasites to live. When mosquitoes bite the human, the parasitic larvae contained inside mosquitoes will enter the human body. Moving between areas can spread parasites.

Causes of Parasitic Infections

The country’s hot and humid tropical climate is very suitable for the survival, development, and spread of parasites in the environment. Parasites infect the body in various ways through the bite of insects, contaminated food, and water. Unhealthy eating habits and unsafety food issues cause parasitic infection in humans.

In addition, there are also a number of other causes. Here are some examples of parasites and the diseases they can cause. People who have walked barefoot in areas where parasites – containing pet’s feces or direct contact with pets without washing hands with antibacterial soap.

What Are The Symptoms of Parasitic Infections?

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When the parasite enters the human body successfully, it will start to harm the host body, causing the following abnormal signs:

Skin problems: Skin appears redness, rashes, eczema, skin allergies such as urticaria, rashes. Some parasites after discharging waste will make the concentration of eosinophils in the blood increase, causing phenomena such as swollen skin, ulcers, skin lesions, these are easily visible by the naked eye. Prolonged itching and scratching may increase the intensity of the itch.

Digestive problems: The digestive activity is reduced when having problems. It makes patients feel abdominal distention, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, a burning sensation in the abdomen. There are more serious cases that cause symptoms such as chronic diarrhea or constipation.

Abnormal body: Patients have signs that included tiredness, pallor, weight loss. Children feel malnourished, stunted, underdeveloped. Some worms absorb iron inside the gut, leading to anemia.

Anal itching: When the body is infected with a pinworm parasite, it will lead to anal itching. The reason is that pinworms cannot reproduce inside the body, they have to move to the area around the anus to lay eggs, which can lead to discomfort, stinging, anal itching.
Food cravings: Although parasite infection will make people tired and lose weight but make the people infected always have a craving. Because the parasite will absorb the amount of food that the patient eats which leads to feeling hungry but the body cannot absorb important nutrients.
Dental Bruxism: Grinding teeth during sleep is a common symptom of people who are infected by parasites due to intestinal parasites. This is also a sign for parents to observe and detect abnormalities in children.
Mental instability: Parasite infection not only causes abnormalities in health but also affects the spirit. The intestinal tract contains neurotransmitters. When the intestinal tract has a problem, a spirit will be negatively affected. Because toxic wastes of parasites make the mood of patients become heavy, anxious, restless.

Is Parasite Infection Dangerous?

The parasite makes you feel that your health has changed, it shows that the presence of parasites is harmful to your health. If the patient is not treated promptly will have a significant impact on health.

The parasites infected in the blood for a long time will make patients have digestive problems, abdominal pain, headache, prolonged diarrhea-causing life–threatening dehydration. When the wound on the skin surface causes itchiness, the patient will scratch with their hand to feel more comfortable. So, the wound can get worse, it may spread causing harm to humans.

How Are Parasitic Infections Treated?

Can parasitic infection be treated? The answer is yes. It can be serious if not treated promptly. If you suspect your symptoms are due to a parasitic infection, you can meet with a doctor to detect parasitic infection by testing your blood. Blood tests can show the presence of parasites. Your treatment plan will depend on your specific diagnosis.

How can parasitic infections be prevented?

  • There are several steps you can take to lower your risk of contracting a parasitic infection:
  • Eat boiled foods, ensure food hygiene.
  • Take care of your pet, always clean. 
  • Wash your hands before and after eating food. This is especially important after touching pets.
  • Eat the food having a reliable origin.
  • Minimize eating raw foods such as blood pudding, rare beef, raw fish salad, etc.

Parasitic infection is a common disease in our life. However, people should not be subjective and should pay attention to control and prevent the source of disease transmission via foods and the environment. This helps you to avoid spreading parasites. If you suspect you have a parasitic infection, make an appointment with your doctor. They can help diagnose the cause of your symptoms and recommend a treatment plan.

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The site cannot and does not contain medical advice. The medical information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals.