Parasitic Infections

Parasitic infections are diseases caused by organisms that live off of another living thing. They can cause fever, fatigue, intestinal symptoms, skin rashes or neurological symptoms. You can get them from contaminated food, water or surfaces, bug bites and eating undercooked meat.

What are the types of parasitic infection?
There are three main types of parasites that cause infections in humans:
* Protozoa.
* Helminths.
* Ectoparasites.

Protozoal infections :-
Protozoa are single-celled parasites. They can infect your blood, intestinal tract (gut), brain, skin, eyes and other parts of your body.

Helminth infections :-
Helminth is a general term for parasitic worms. Scientists further classify them as flukes (trematodes), tapeworms (cestodes), roundworms (nematodes) and thorny headed worms (acanthocephalans). Helminths can infect both adults and immature (larval) . Helminths usually infect your intestinal tract, but they can also infect the skin, brain and other tissues.

Ectoparasitic infections
Ectoparasites are insects and arachnids (spider-like bugs) that burrow into your skin and live there. This includes ticks, mites, lice and fleas.
They usually don’t infect other parts of your body

Symptoms of parasitic infections:-

Symptoms of parasitic infections depend on where in your body you’re infected. Some common symptoms include:
1. Fever
2. Muscle aches.
3. Fatigue.
4. Nausea.
5. Vomiting.
6. Diarrhea
7. Headaches
8. Skin symptoms like redness itches or sores

How do you get parasitic infections?
1. Drinking contaminated water or getting it in your mouth.
2. Eating undercooked meats.
3. Eating contaminated foods 4. Mosquito bites, tick bites, fly bites or other bites from insects that carry parasites
5. Contaminated surfaces
6. Unprotected sex
7. Contaminated dirt (soil)

How parasitic infections are diagnosed
Providers diagnose parasitic infections by looking for parasites or signs of parasites (like their eggs) in body fluids or tissues. To test you for parasites, a provider might take samples of your:
1. Poop (stool)
2. Blood
3. Skin or other affected tissue.
4. Phlegm (sputum)
5. Fluid around your brain and spinal cord (CNS fluid).

Treatments of parasitic infections
Providers use different medications to treat various types of parasitic infections, including:
1. Antiparasitics (anthelmintics or antiprotozoals).
2. Antibiotics
3. Antifungals.

Sometimes you might need a combination of different medications to cure the infection. Your provider will select a treatment that’s best for the specific type of parasitic infection you have.

Prevention of parasitic infections
Following a few precautions can reduce your risk of parasitic infections, including:
1. Wash your hands frequently
2. Avoid swimming when you have diarrhea.
3. Practice safe food habits.
4. Use Condoms
5. Protect yourself from bug bites
6. Be an informed traveler

References :-
1. Cleveland
2. Merck Manual, Professional Version. Approach to Parasitic Injections.
3. Southwick FS. Parasitic Infections: A Global Challenge. In: Southwick FS, ed. Infectious Diseases: A Clinical Short Course. 4th ed. McGraw Hill.
4. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

written by:
Miss Shodimu TEmitope

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