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Us and them Parasites

Us and them Parasites

  • February 4, 2019

Just imagining tiny, slimy, and at times, cringe worthy worms who crawl around on surface of your body in enough to ick you out. Ever wonder what they do once they are inside you?

Parasites are organisms which lives inside/on the person’s body and survive on host’s nutrients. They can enter the body through contaminated food or water and sometimes they just live on your skin, hair and inside the nails. These parasites cannot be seen with naked eyes.

Parasitic intestinal infection can lead to significant morbidity and mortality if not recognized and treated properly. These infections are more associated with developing countries like ours as compared to the developed ones, rising worldwide travels and immigration is also one of the major concern in terms of parasitic infections.

Symbiotic relationship between the parasites and human have done wonders in human evolution but the damage outweighs the benefits.

Types of worm

  1. Tapeworm: These worms enter in human body via contaminated water with eggs and larvae of tapeworms. Raw or under-cooked meat is also a breeding ground for tapeworm. Tapeworms are long ribbon like worms that embed their heads inside the intestine and can live there for years. They produce eggs inside the host and then migrate to different parts of the body
  2. Hookworm: These worms start their life outside the host body and enters the host via contaminated water, fruits or vegetables, they also make contact with human body via contaminated soil or faeces. They are named so because they get attached inside the intestines via a hook like part. They are roughly an inch long and live on host’s blood which ultimately leads to anemia.
  3. Roundworms: These are the largest nematodes affecting human body, ranging about 15-30 cms in length. They enter host body via ingestion, from where they quickly penetrate the wall and reach the intestine to leach off nutrients. They also enter via the blood stream into the lungs from where they maybe coughed and/or swallowed back by the same host or some other host
  4. Pinworms: These worms are less common in adults and more common in children. Female pinworms lay eggs around the anus during night time and the eggs hatch and survive near colon and rectum. These worms can survive on bed, clothes and even other materials. Any contact with the same via any part of the body eg, skin, inhalation or ingestion can lead to the entrance of worms inside the body. This worm is less dangerous and easier to deworm.
  5. Cattle eyeworm: It was first worm discovered affecting human eyeballs. These worms affect the cornea of the eye that leads to irritation and may later lead to blindness. This rare condition occurs mainly with the contact lens users. Showering or using hot bath at the time of wearing contact lens can lead to blindness.

Common symptoms of a parasitic infection

Screenings for parasite

Your physician may recommend any of the following to determine the type of parasitic infection:

  • Stool test
  • Blood test
  • Imagining tests

Staying safe from parasites

Parasitic infections are completely avoidable. Some simple measures, like following, avoiding raw or potentially contaminated food, being vigilant about how the street food is being prepared, avoid being bare foot  in areas with contaminated soil and also keep a check on the sanitary hygiene factors while travelling and in public places like offices and markets.

Use of soaps, hand sanitizers, paper napkins are always advised over simply washing your hands with water.

It all sums upto prevention via good hygiene practices.

“Swach Raho, Swasth Raho…”


  •  5 years ago

    Excellent best correct articles. ..

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