5 Signs You Might Have A Parasite
Got a strong stomach? You might be feeling a bit less confident in its iron-clad reputation after you start reading this. But knowing about the signs of parasitic diseases is important, particularly for people traveling in countries where parasitic diseases are more common and medical help less accessible; self-diagnosis might be a very valuable asset. We also have to remember that "parasitic" doesn't just mean tapeworms (though it does mean that); it's also a descriptor for diseases like malaria, and waterborne parasitic disease like giardiasis.
The United States is extremely lucky; parasitic diseases are rarely deadly if contracted here, and can be very easily treated. Elsewhere in the world, the story is different. According to the World Health Organization, infectious and parasitic diseases are the second-biggest causes of deathh among the world's population, behind cardiovascular disease. And in low-income countries, they're often the biggest cause of deathh of all, particularly among children. But don't automatically discount parasites as a cause of illness if you haven't travelled anywhere lately; as we'll discover, some of the most common parasitic diseases can be found in American water and soil. How very lucky for us.
So let's get into five possible signs that you have a parasite, from plausible contexts to combinations of symptoms. Warning: this is not for the squeamish.
1. You're Feeling Weird After Visiting A Subtropical Country
A lot of the diagnosis of parasites will be contextual, because often, the symptoms aren't substantially different from normal stomach upsets or the flu. It's more likely that you have a parasite, for example, if you've recently come from a place in the world where they're common. If you want to give yourself a minor heart attack before your next vacation, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a handy list of which particular parasites are the most prevalent around the world, from the more common (giardia and malaria) to the least (African sleeping sickness).
Most parasites, including intestinal ones, are common in subtropical countries, including parts of Africa, Asia, and South America. Don't be surprised if your doctor requires a summary of your recent travels if you go in for a diagnosis; they might be a bit worried if you contract something specifically foreign when you've never spent any time outside New York.
2. You've Come Into Contact With Unclean Water Or Food
Some of the most common parasites worldwide, from giardiasis to amebiasis, are waterborne diseases, meaning that you most often contract them through ingesting unclean water, eating food that was washed in it, or swimming in rivers or bodies of water that are unhygienic. If you start suffering symptoms after contact with a water source of less-than-crystal-clear safety ratings, a parasite is a likely cause.
To make things slightly more complicated, though, the illnesses you contract from contaminated water or food don't necessarily have to be parasites. Contaminated water can lead to illnesses of all kinds, from plain gastroenteritis (known as "Delhi belly" if you get it in India) to hepatitis E and dysentery. So it's not automatically assured that a parasite is responsible for your discomfort after risky meals or drinks. Independent Traveller recommends that you avoid cold meat, seafood, any fruit or vegetables that can't be peeled, eating with your hands if you've washed them in local water known to be problematic, raw eggs, and any condiments that don't come in sealed packages.
3. You Have Stomach Cramps And Dehydration
4. You Have Ongoing Diarrhea
5. You Have A Small, Itchy Rash And Fatigue
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5 Signs You Might Have a Parasite
By HEALTH AREA