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Parasite Infections

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Parasite Infections

Dr. Jack Kunkel

Parasite Infections

Parasites are organisms that live off other organisms -or hosts- to survive. 

The word parasite tends to have a negative connotation, and often for good reason, but did you know that we all have parasites and they are everywhere. Our food, our homes, our beloved pets all carry parasites.

Some parasites don’t affect you negatively, but others grow, reproduce, or invade organ systems that make their hosts sick, resulting in a parasitic infection. While some parasites are beneficial to your body, a parasitic infection is not.

Parasites infections

Most Americans think that parasitic infections and diseases occur only in poor and developing parts of the world or as something they might pick up on an overseas trip. However, according to the CDC, parasitic infections still occur in the United States, and in some cases, affect millions of people.

Symptoms of a parasitic infection:

The signs and symptoms of infections caused by a parasite vary depending on the organism that’s residing in your body. Some of the most common signs of a parasitic infection include:

  • Digestive problems including unexplained constipation, diarrhea, persistent gas, stomach cramps and pain, nausea or vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Skin issues such as rashes, eczema, hives, and itching
  • Continuous muscle and joint pain
  • Fatigue, even when you get enough sleep
  • Depression or feeling apathetic
  • Never feeling full/feeling constantly hungry even when you’re eating enough
  • Iron deficiency/anemia
  • Grinding your teeth during sleep
  • Unexplained feelings of anxiety
  • Recurring yeast infections
  • Itching, redness, irritation, and an unusual
  • discharge from the genital area or anus
  • Trouble falling asleep or waking up multiple times during the night

The good news is that most of these infections can be prevented, and many are treatable. However, these infections are often undetected and untreated. Why? Most people do not know they are infected or at risk, or don’t have access to appropriate care.

Unfortunately, many health care providers are unfamiliar with these parasitic infections and may not diagnose or treat them appropriately.

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