Chances are, you’ve had some uninvited guest living inside you at some point in your life. Maybe you scratched your arm and an adolescent fluke found its way into your skin, fed off of you until it reached adulthood, laid eggs, and then left. It’s the circle of life, all part of nature. It’s possible that little bug grew up inside you and moved out without you even noticing—but sometimes a parasitic infection is a bit more noticeable than that. Sometimes, they can be rather dangerous.
Fortunately, it’s pretty rare for a parasite to become severe. Learn more about some common parasites and how they can often be harmless.
5 Common Parasitic Infections
You may have heard of tapeworms by now. These paper-thin parasitic worms can grow up to 60 feet long. There are roughly 5,000 different species of tapeworms, and they all live in human intestinal tracts.
People can contract tapeworms by ingesting bad food, rotten meat, contaminated water, etc. They typically don’t show any symptoms of a parasite, besides the occasional nausea. They also rarely cause serious problems, but there have been some reports of organ damage in severe cases. Tapeworms can live inside someone up to 30 years if not treated with medications. Doctors can easily treat patients with these parasitic infections.
Having a hookworm is a similar parasitic infection to a tapeworm in that they live inside the intestinal tract and suck blood. The hookworm parasitic life cycle is also similar to that of other parasites. If you walk around barefoot, you’ll likely get a hookworm. The larvae of a hookworm pass through the skin and makes its way to the intestinal tract where it becomes an adult. Once it’s an adult, it lays eggs. Hookworm parasitic infections are spread through human fecal matter.
You may experience itchiness with hookworms, so see a doctor. They may take a stool sample to test if you have a hookworm. Your healthcare provider will give you medication that should clear up infection in about three days.
3. Blood flukes
These are the real nasty guys. All that slime that a snail leaves behind is full of hundreds of different kinds of parasites. One of those parasites is a blood fluke, a tiny worm that burrows into your skin after maturing within the snail. It then makes its way to your veins and swims to the vessels around the bladder, laying thousands of eggs.
A blood fluke can lead to a disease called schistosoma haematobium. This disease is generally not life-threatening, but it could be dangerous if you don’t get it treated right away. These urgent care symptoms are obvious: diarrhea, nausea, and pain. Over 200 million people worldwide suffer from this disease.
Treatment typically only lasts one day. You take the prescribed medication two or three times that day, and it should clear itself up. It does not, however, prevent future infections, so be smart—wash your hands and eat clean.
A pinworm is a roundworm, and it’s the most common one in the United States. It does beat out the bloodworm with 209 million cases worldwide. The most common patients suffering from pinworms are children. They can be contracted by diet; if you eat something rotten, the eggs will hatch and cause a parasitic infection.
These pinworms end up in your anal canal and can cause intense itching. It is here where they reproduce and lay thousands of eggs. Once a pinworm reaches adulthood, it can reach 35 cm long. Patients can treat pinworms with a prescription or an over the counter medication or ointment.
5. Mites and microbugs
While there might be nothing creepier than tiny mind-control parasites that turn bugs into zombie slaves, something about microscopic spiders living inside you just doesn’t sit right. Especially when you realize, it pretty much comes with the package of being a human. That’s right, micro bugs like mites and ticks are part of the arachnid family and are as equally common parasites as worms.
For the most part, these tiny animals don’t cause many problems at all. In fact, with essentially 100% of the population being host to these guys, it’s strange that we are only learning about them recently. These micro bugs do things like eat dead skin, lay eggs, and live their entire lives on or in you, practically minding their own business.
However, there are worse parasitic infections related to the mite family. For example, scabies is a sort of infestation that can cause a lot of problems. When they burrow into your skin and lay eggs, it can cause rashes, infection, and blisters. If you experience these symptoms, it’s worth checking out.
Get Those Worms out of Your Body
Many types of parasitic infection can cause a lot of problems. Make sure to visit Las Vegas Urgent Care if you believe you’re host to something gross and slimey.