These days, health circles are abuzz with talks about parasitic worms and how they affect humans. Prior knowledge about the nature of these worms and the conditions they lead to help in keeping them under control. Parasites refer to organisms that can be found living on and feeding off their hosts. These hosts are other living organisms, such as humans, that provide parasites with the nutrition and oxygen they need for survival. The parasites living in humans are capable of causing several health issues that can be ascertained through a wide range of signs and symptoms. The commonly found parasites include thorny-headed worms, flatworms, and roundworms. 

The highest risk of parasitic infections is concentrated in rural and underdeveloped areas wherein food and environmental hygiene may be an issue. Places with poor sanitation and contaminated water or food are the most vulnerable in terms of human parasitic infections. Here, we aim to discuss parasite worms residing within humans and how they outwit their hosts to cause different health issues. 

Infection Causing Parasitic Worms

Roundworms and flatworms are the main culprits when it comes to infection caused by worms. These parasites are generally invisible to the naked eye and can be found in different types of habitats. As per experts in handling parasite related infections at Microbe Formulas, it is important to detect their presence early on in their life cycle to avoid escalating the health conditions caused by them. Early diagnosis of parasites can alleviate several complications and pave the grounds for timely treatment and relief. 

Tapeworm

Tapeworm, which is a kind of flatworm, can reach its hosts through drinking water that contains the eggs or larvae of tapeworms. Consumption of uncooked or raw meat can also lead to parasitic infection in humans. Once they breach the human intestines, parasites attach their heads into the walls of the intestine and remain there until treated. While remaining there, specific types of tapeworms give eggs that grow into larvae. These larvae usually find their way into the other body parts of the infected host to create bigger problems. Under the microscope, a tapeworm appears as a white, long ribbon. It attains a length of up to 80 and may continue surviving within human hosts for 30 years or more. 

Flukes

In general, it's less likely for humans to get infected with flukes. Flukes are a specific type of flatworm found in freshwater plants such as watercress. Drinking contaminated water also causes flukes related infections to take place. Once they enter the body of humans, flukes end up making their home in blood, tissues, or intestines. Flukes may not reach more than a few inches in length even at full maturity. 

Hookworms

Hookworms are usually transmitted via contaminated soil and feces. Walking barefoot on soil that may have the larvae of hookworm can lead to infestation by hookworms. This kind of hookworm is capable of piercing through the skin and resides in the small intestine. Hookworms have a hook-like ending with which they manage to attach themselves to the intestinal walls of humans. In general, hookworms are up to half an inch in length. 

Pinworms (threadworms)

Pinworms are small and harmless parasitic worms that are commonly found in children. When they attain the age of maturity, these roundworms reside in the rectum and colon of humans. The reproductive cycle of pinworms is quite active with the females laying eggs in the vicinity of the host's anus. The laying of eggs usually takes place during the night. It is common to find the eggs surviving on clothing, bedding, as well as other materials. The infection caused by pinworms occurs when the host touches the eggs and ends up putting the same into his or her mouth. Very minute in size, the eggs can reach the lungs whenever they are airborne. 

Trichinosis worms

Trichinosis roundworms are generally passed between animals. One of the common most ways in which humans get infected by trichinosis relates to the consumption of undercooked meat containing the larvae. Trichinosis larvae tend to mature within the intestine. Once they start reproducing, these worms start traveling outside the intestines to reach other tissues and muscles. 

Signs and Symptoms of Infection Caused by Parasites 

Several symptoms point towards infections caused by parasites. These include and are not restricted to nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, general weakness, and weight loss. Alongside, the signs and symptoms attributed to the infection caused by tapeworms include lumps or bumps, fever, allergic reactions, neurological problems like seizures, and so forth. It generally takes months or a few weeks for the additional symptoms of infection by flukes to surface in their hosts. These additional symptoms include fever, fatigue, etc. Similarly, the additional signs of infection caused by hookworms include anemia, itchy rash, and fatigue. 

Trichinosis worms transmit themselves to different tissues and muscles via the bloodstream. They cause swelling of the face, fever, headache, light sensitivity, conjunctivitis, tenderness and muscle pain, etc. 

Diagnosis of Infection by Parasites

It is important to get in touch with a specialist in healthcare if you are going through any of the above symptoms that do not go away easily. This is specifically true if you've been touring and have returned from foreign soils. Doctors and experts in the diagnosis of parasitic infections will assess your problem to get to its crux. Some important diagnostic tests are necessarily performed to find the culprit and start the treatment process. These tests include:

  • Fecal tests comprising of the examination of the host's stool sample for checking the presence of parasites, eggs, or larvae. 

  • A colonoscopy serves to be a useful test in case stool samples turn up no evidence of parasites as a cause of diarrhea. 

  • Blood tests may be advised to ascertain the existence of certain parasites present in the blood. 

  • CT scan, X-rays, MRI, and other imaging tests can be used for the detection of organ injuries linked to parasites. 

Tape Test

A tape test comprises the placement of clear tape in the anal region. The tape is removed after a designated period. It is assessed under the microscope to find if pinworms, their eggs or larvae, are present on it or not. In some instances, it is possible to find the existence of pinworms in the anal region of a child under the naked eye. 

Treatment of Parasitic Infections

Prescription antiparasitic medication is the primary means of treating parasitic infections. These drugs are very useful in killing parasites and aids their passing off through different metabolic systems. The antiparasitic medication received by you, the schedule of dosage, and the treatment's duration would depend on the kind of parasitic infection contracted by the host. The entire dose of prescription medicine has to be taken for best results and to feel better. Surgery and advanced care and medication may be necessary in case of the infection invading other body parts. Additional medication and surgical procedures may be required for addressing the other signs and symptoms brought about by parasites.

Way Forward

You may want to take suggestions from your healthcare provider or expert in parasite related infections concerning the intake of nutritional supplements or diet. It's important to follow the advice provided by the doctor to the optimum levels to get quick and desirable results. With the right and timely treatment in place, you'll find it easy to get to the bottom of your health concerns. Reach out to specialists to increase your immune system and fight the signs of parasite related infections, right away.