This week’s blog is not for the squeamish and may make you wriggle and itch! Parasites are far more common than people realise and something that you should at least be aware of if you have a weak immune system or have had an extended period of time of feeling under the weather. Just about everyone is affected by parasites and it is near to impossible not to be affected by them. By just breathing in air, shaking someone’s hand or just by touching your face after stroking your pet you potentially transfer invisible to the eye organisms into your body.
Parasites are organisms that use humans as a host and can live silently within the body for years without ever being detected. Studies run in funeral homes has shown that on average 97% of the fluids found in the human body contain parasites. The host provides food for the parasite at its own expense and health can be severely affected. Parasitic worms are small animals, which can live inside the body. Their eggs are taken into the body, usually by swallowing. The worms then hatch out of the eggs and live in the body.
When the worms live in the body they can cause sickness. They may get into the stomach and gut and eat the food before the body has digested it leaving the poor unaware host malnourished. Sometimes the worms will find their way into other parts of the body, such as the blood or liver or lungs where the affected area struggles to perform is normal functions. Anaemia can result from certain parasites, like hookworms, that like to feed of blood.
The parasites produce toxic waste through their day to day metabolism, their excrement, which of course stays within the body (with occasional signs that the parasites have taken up residence in faeces if you know what you’re looking for). This toxic waste causes the host further health problems along with the problems of the parasite using the host’s blood and/or nutrients.
6 of the most common parasitic worms that like to take residence inside us are thread or pin worms, tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, flukes, and rope worms, which are a relatively recent discovery and problem, thought to be associated with the advent of genetically modified food. I decided not to include photos as they can be quite shocking for some, but images are easily found on the Internet.
It is estimated that up to one third of your faeces are actually the excrement of the parasites you carry inside of you. If like me your completely revolted by this information but equally curious to know what places us at risk, then you are taking a wise step in educating yourself to know what to look out for and to stay well and keep the parasites in check.
The key to ensuring you are not adversely affected by parasites is to make sure that you are not a welcome host. If you are exposed to any of these little critters and your body does not support them very well then they won’t want to reside there for long. Having said that modern day living has made us, by way of heavy metal toxins, high sugar, processed diets and impaired immune systems due to stressful lifestyles, more susceptible with estimates of around ninety plus percent of us affected. When you also hear that “Parasites have killed more humans than all the wars in history” as researched by National Geographic, then you can really get a feel for how prevalent this problem is. Every living thing has at least one parasite inside of it and humans have far more.
You can help limit your risk in a few ways. Fruits and vegetables should always be thoroughly washed and never eat anything raw straight from the ground without washing it as many of the eggs from parasites are not visible to the eye. Keep raw fish and meat out of your diet. If you are a fan of sushi then there is no doubt that you have parasites. One square inch of raw fish can contain up to 10,000 parasite larvae eggs that begin hatching inside you the moment you eat it. If you have a pet then you are also guaranteed to have parasites. Think about cutting down or eliminating all together junk food, white products and simple carbohydrates (which the parasites love) like bread, pasta, pastries and biscuits, processed chemical laden foods, sugar, fruit juice and alcohol.
Once you’ve gotten used to the idea that we are a host to parasites then it’s a good idea to focus on how best to keep them in check. Like candida albicans, which is a naturally occurring bacteria, it resides in the body with no problems. It is only when there is poor gut bacteria due to one of many reasons like medication, in particular antibiotics, that the gut bacteria is thrown out of balance and the candidia multiplies to cause all sorts of health problems.
Common warning signs that parasites are not just present, which is pretty much a given, but are actually affecting your life energy are tiredness, insomnia, weakness, lethargy, headaches, itching, and either lack of appetite or hungry all the time, cravings for carbohydrates, depression, skin problems, joint pains, chest problems, diarrhea, constipation, IBS, mucous in your faeces, intestinal blockages, abdominal cramps, flatulence and bloating.
As well as a balanced diet, cleansing the body regularly is absolutely key to keeping this problem at bay or at least in check. A healthy, clean body is not a desirable host to parasites.
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Descriptions below of the 6 most common parasitic worms that like to take residence inside us. I decided not to include photos as they can be quite shocking for some, but have included a link for those that want to find out more:
These parasites can be transmitted through contaminated water, fruits and vegetables. It is also possible to be infected from pets licking us or simply through grooming them. The larvae of these worms grow inside the intestines where they attach and drink the blood of the host, sometimes causing anaemia and can migrate to the lungs where they get coughed up and re-swallowed, transferring them back to the small intestine. Key symptoms are weakness, nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and anaemia. Other symproms can include asthma, eye pain, insomnia, dry skin and hair.
Roundworm are the most common parasitic worm found in humans, with children generally more infected than adults, as they occur due to lack of hygiene. These worms grow from 15cm to 35cm in length and look like spaghetti and are transferred into the body by ingestion. When the eggs hatch they penetrate the intestinal wall entering the bloodstream. They then makes their way to the lungs where they are coughed up and swallowed where it returns to the gut. These worms can seriously affect the development and growth of children. Infection can be from raw or undercooked meat or fish, self infection from faces or from animal faeces. Key symptoms include lethargy, rashes, fever, diarrhoea, wheezing and/or coughing or asthma type symptoms, nerve problems. A very heavy worm infection can also block intestines
Threadworm or Pinworm
Threadworms are white and measure around 1cm to 2cm long. Cross contamination of these worms amongst family members and friends is very common. Unclean finger nails and itchy bottoms are prime sites for these little worms to thrive and spread. Thread worms make their home in the host’s intestines and unlike many other parasites they do not enter into the blood stream and cannot survive in other parts of the body for any length of time.
Key symptoms are intense anal itching, especially at night, where the worms lay their eggs. The ensuing scratching then helps to spread and transfer the parasites to others if hygiene is not paramount.
So called because of its twisted fibres that make it look like rope. Ropeworms are a relatively recent discovery and are thought to be a new problem associated with genetically modified food. They can reach up to a metre long and lives and dies within its host. They are most active at night. Once the host is infected, the worm attaches itself using suction cups to the wall of the intestine. They move by jet propulsion, emitting gas bubbles as they go. Key symptoms include flatulence and bloating. The ropeworm also produces slime and fecal stones,
Flatworm blood fluke
Flukes as they are familiarly known, live in the bloodstream of their host and are usually picked up by their host through contaminated water. They can be found in various organs around the body, including the liver, lungs and intestines and cause inflammation wherever they are found. Flukes are known to reside in their host for years undetected before they cause any unpleasant symptoms and are believed to be the hardest to get rid of. Risk of infection comes from raw fish, unwashed vegetables and meat and fish. Key symptoms include swollen glands, lethargy, fever, cough, aching and diarrhoea.
The tapeworm attaches itself to the host’s intestines by way of hooks on its head. These worms find there way into the body through infected food. They then take 3 to 4 months to mature and start reproducing. They survive for up to 25 years in the host. The eggs are excreted in faeces and can survive on vegetation where they are then consumed by cattle or pigs and then passed on to humans. Key symptoms are diarrhoea, nausea, vomitiong, dizziness, malnutrition, weight loss and inflammation of the intestines.