Protozoa, consisting of a single cell only. By cell division, protozoa replicate and may multiply within humans. A wide variety of single-cell species are found in the protozoa, such as Giardia, which infests the intestine, and malaria, which circulates in the bloodstream.
Worms that are bigger and consist of several cells and have internal organs. Most worms produce eggs or larvae that mature in the environment until they become capable of infecting individuals. Environmental development can include other animals (an intermediate host).
Parasitic diseases in both the tropics and subtropics as well as in more temperate climates cause a considerable burden of disease. Of all parasitic diseases, worldwide, malaria causes most deaths.
Parasitic Infection Symptoms
Depending on the host, the signs of parasitic infections differ. For instance:
- Trichomoniasis is an infection caused by a parasite that is sexually transmitted and frequently produces no symptoms. It may cause scratching, redness, discomfort, and an uncommon discharge in your genital region in certain instances.
- Diarrhea, gas, upset stomach, greasy stools, and dehydration can be caused due to Giardiasis.
- Stomach cramps and an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, weight loss, and fever can be caused by cryptosporidiosis.
- Toxoplasmosis can cause flu-like symptoms that can last for more than a month, including a swelling of the lymph nodes and muscle aches or pains.
Transmission of Parasitics
In a variety of ways, parasitic infections can be transmitted. For instance, polluted water, food, waste, soil, and blood may spread protozoa and helminths. Sexual interaction can be passed on to another. Some parasites are transmitted by insects, which serve as the disease's vector or carrier. Malaria, for instance, is caused by parasitic protozoa that mosquitoes spread when they feed on humans.
Parasitic infections are diagnosed in a number of ways. Your doctor may, for example, perform the following:
- A Blood test
- A faecal exam: A sample of your stool will be tested for parasites and their eggs in such an examination.
- Endoscopy or colonoscopy: if the findings of a stool exam are inconclusive, these tests can be ordered.
- X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), or Computerised Axial Tomography (CAT) scans: These scans are used to look for symptoms of parasite-induced lesions or injuries to the organs.
In order to check for bacteria or other items that may cause infections, the doctor can also order tests.
Your plan for treatment will focus on your particular diagnosis. Usually, medicine will be administered by the doctor. They can, for instance, prescribe drugs to treat trichomoniasis, giardiasis, or cryptosporidiosis. If you are not pregnant and otherwise well, they will generally not prescribe toxoplasmosis drugs unless you have a significant and prolonged infection.
In order to ease your symptoms, your doctor can also prescribe other medications. Many parasitic infections, for instance, can cause diarrhoea, which often results in dehydration. You would probably be advised by your doctor to drink plenty of water to replenish the fluids you lose.
How to Prevent Parasitic Infection
Here are a few steps that you may take to reduce the risk of developing a parasitic infection:
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Make sure you cook your food to its recommended temperatures. Undercooked food poses a huge threat.
- Ensure that the water you drink is clean and safe, especially when you're travelling. Avoid drinking water from open ponds, lakes and streams.
- When you're pregnant, avoid coming in contact with cat litter and faeces.
- Take necessary precautions such as the use of condoms during intercourse.
To Sum Up
Microorganisms that rely on other host organisms for their own survival are parasites. Many parasites do not harm the host, but some parasitic infections are responsible for serious diseases. In case of severe infection, hospital costs, tests and medication can rack up a huge bill. Having a solid financial plan such as health insurance to take care of such health and medical expenses is always advisable.