What Is That Inside You? (Common Symptom Of A Parasite Infection)
Parasites are microorganisms that live in or on other living organisms (hosts) to survive. You'll notice parasites symptoms oftentimes as they either temporarily or permanently rely on specific hosts (like humans) to get their food, to reproduce and shelter themselves from harm. They usually rob the nutrients of their hosts and leave some toxic waste behind that consequently makes their “victims” sick. In some instances, parasites do not affect their hosts and live harmoniously with them. But for most of these microorganisms, they produce large amount of health problems especially in tropical and subtropical countries. Among the deadliest diseases that parasites cause is Malaria, which kills more than 1 million individuals every year.
Main Classification of Parasites and Their Symptoms
There are over a hundred different types of parasite identified that live within the human hosts. As the population increases, so does the risk of acquiring parasitic infections. Experts, exclude viruses and bacteria among these microorganisms. They’ve classified parasitic infection into three main types that causes parasites symptoms in humans, namely:
1. Protoza. These are single-celled microorganisms that live and multiply within human blood or tissues. Commonly found in water and soil with common vectors or carriers like mosquitoes and flies that infects the human body.
2. Helminths. These are multi-celled microorganisms than can live with or without human hosts. They are commonly known as worms, which include flatworms, tapeworms, roundworms and pinworms.
3. Ectoparasites. These are multi-celled microorganisms that feed on the skin of human or live in it. They either attach or burrow into the skin of the human host. Examples of which are fleas, lice, ticks and mites.
Symptoms of a Parasite Infection
Parasites symptoms vary depending on the type of parasite that invaded the human hosts. Some parasitic infections are easily treated while others are not which remains a heavy burden to communities in the tropical and subtropical countries. The most common symptoms of a parasite infection are as follows:
1. Changes in your bowel movement such as loose watery stools or diarrhea. There might also be odor, texture and color changes of your feces.
2. Gastrointestinal upset that includes abdominal pain, cramping, flatulence (gas) and distended abdomen or feeling bloated.
3. Loss of appetite with or without associated nausea or vomiting.
4. Unexplained sudden weight loss due to the infestation of parasites sucking your body’s nutrients and or due to loss of appetite.
5. Weakness, feeling of tiredness, listlessness or sudden changes in energy level, which is commonly observed from children that are usually active then suddenly becomes less active.
6. Itchiness especially around the anal area given there are no evident rashes.
7. Low-grade or high-grade fever with or without associated headache.
Prevent Parasite Symptoms and Infection
Symptom of a parasite infection may range from a mild annoying effect to more life-threatening effect. They may last from a week or might recur several times in a year. To protect yourself from being infected here are some ways you can consider, like:
1. Practice proper hand washing or good hand hygiene especially when coming into contact with food, water and feces that might be contaminated with the parasite or its toxins.
2. It is highly recommended to cook your food very well.
3. Drink only safe and clean water especially when travelling to other areas. Avoid drinking water in streams, lakes or ponds.
4. For vector-borne parasitic infection, protect yourself by wearing protective clothing or use insect repellant.
5. Practice safe sex. Some parasitic infection can be transmitted sexually.
It does not take you to travel to uncharted waters or places just to get a parasitic infection. Parasites are everywhere and it is just up to you to protect yourself from them.