"We have a tremendous parasite problem right here in the U.S. It is just not being addressed." --Dr. Peter Wina, Chief of the Patho-Biology in the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in 1991.
'In terms of numbers there are more parasitic infections acquired in the US than in Africa!" --Dr. Frank Nova, chief of the Laboratory for Parasitic Diseases of the National Institute of Health. (NIH)
The human body can play host to more than a hundred different types of parasites, ranging in size from microscopic to tape worms that are several feet long. Parasites are not restricted to our colon alone but can be found in the lungs, the liver, our muscles and joints, in the brain, the blood, the skin, and even in the eyes.
Common Parasites Hook Worm Blastocyst
How do know if you or your children may have a parasite? Take the Adult Parasite Risk Questionnaire to find out whether you or your family are at risk.
Here are some very scary statistics. According to United Nations data: "overall, about 1.5 billion people have roundworms, making it the third most common human infection in the world. Whipworm infects 1 billion people...More than 1.3 billion people carry hookworm in their gut, and 265 million people are infected with schistosomes."Schistosomes are small flukes which live in the bloodstream of infected people, mainly children. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta found that one in six, randomly selected; people had one or more parasites.
The Parasitology Department of the University of Cambridge, England states that an astounding amount of people are infected with parasites: "Pinworm is an extremely common parasitic infection, particularly in temperate areas such as Western Europe and North America...It has been estimated that the annual incidence of infection is over 200 million. Samples of Caucasian children in the USA and Canada have shown incidences of infection of 30% to 80%, with similar levels in Europe".
You and your doctor can usually pinpoint where the parasite came from. Two of the most common thoughts are, "get it out of me!", which for the most part easy to do with diet, supplementation and prudent use of medications, and "how long have I had it?" which is a little more difficult to pinpoint. Some parasites give you immediate symptoms; others can hang around a bit and multiply before you start to feel sick.
Below are facts about some of the more common parasites. If you enjoy exotic travel, than you may pick up one of the more exotic ones. DNA testing will "finger print" the parasite for you and treatment can then be focused getting you back on your feet in no time.
Pinworm is the most common worm infection amongst preschool and school age children and their parents. Often, if one family member has parasites then so do the others. If you or your child's anus itches at night, you may have pinworms.
They look like white, wiggly pieces of thread. If you or your child experiences night time anal itching, simply put a piece of cellophane tape over the anus before bed and examine the tape in the morning. You will want to speak to your MD if pinworms are found.
Pinworm eggs are easily shared and can survive up to 2 weeks on clothing, bedding, or other objects. They can be transmitted through contaminated soil, water and surfaces and passed from person to person with the exception of hookworms which require warm, moist, shaded soil to hatch into larvae.
They can be deposited by dogs, cats and other animals that carry hookworm. If the eggs contaminate the soil and conditions are right, they will hatch, molt, and develop into infective larvae in 5-10 days.
The larvae are barely visible and penetrate the skin, most often through bare feet. They are carried by the blood stream into the lungs, go through the respiratory tract into the mouth, are swallowed, and eventually reach the small intestine. This journey takes about a week. In the small intestine, the larvae develop into half-inch-long worms, attach themselves to the intestinal wall, and suck blood. The adult worms produce thousand of eggs.
Tape Worms (fish, beef and pork): Obtained from eating raw or undercooked, infected meat. These can grow up to 33 feet in length. Pork tapeworms can enter the brain and cause seizures. Fish tapeworms can produce over one million eggs per day.
White Worms: Usually are in animal feces and uncooked fish. They look like angel hair pasta.
Red Worms: Look just like wrapped balls of earthworms and can be seen in the feces. They can grow up to 6 inches in length. They are usually in the flesh or under the skin of fish and can be killed by immediately putting the freshly caught fish on ice.
If you think you have parasites take the Parasite Risk Quiz. If you find you do have a parasite, you can review treatment options with me and read a very detailed description of your parasite on the Center for Diease Control.
* You may need medication to rid your body of many parasite infections, consult your MD or healthcare provider.
Learn more: lighterliving Intestinal Parasite Solutions