Although having parasites can be really unpleasant, parasites are more common than you might think. We’re actually seeing a few cases of them at Westchester Health. Not limited to underdeveloped countries, parasites exist worldwide and can infect anyone of any race, gender, or socioeconomic status. They can cause a number of symptoms, few of which affect the digestive tract, but the good news is, yes, they can be treated.
What is a parasite?
A parasite is any organism that lives and feeds on another organism. Examples of parasites include:
Parasites come in so many different shapes and sizes that they can cause a wide range of problems. Some eat your food (from inside your body) so you are hungry after every meal and unable to gain weight. Others feed on red blood cells and cause anemia. Some lay eggs, which can cause itching, irritation, and even insomnia.
How do you get parasites?
There are several ways that parasites can be transmitted. Here are the most common reasons:
contaminated food and water
impure or contaminated fruits and vegetables
Once a person is infected with the parasite, it is very easy to transmit it. If you have the parasite and don’t wash your hands after using the toilet, you can easily transfer microscopic eggs to bathroom door handles, salt shakers, cell phones, or anything else you touch. Traveling abroad is another way to introduce foreign parasites into your system. Also, it is very easy to get parasites when dealing with animals.