Parasites: The Freeloaders of Your Body<br />By Ryder Lee<br />A parasite by definition is an organism which survives by leeching the three essentials of life from a larger, host creature. Fleas are an example of parasites to dogs, and dust mites to us. But there are many, much more disturbing creatures that may be sucking your blood, or eating your food without you even knowing it. These are parasites of the digestive system. <br />1: Prevention<br />The easiest treatment for parasites is prevention. The main way parasites get into your body is via contaminated food. Undercooked or rotting foods are great breeding grounds for both parasites and bacteria. Thoroughly cooking your food and boiling water are the number one factors to prevention. Eating sashimi, beef tartar, raw eggs, steak that is cooked rare, or any other forms of undercooked, raw foods are dangerous. Make sure to cook your food fully at home, or order smart at a restaurant.<br />2: The Tapeworm<br />The most common type of parasitical infection is the tapeworm. The tapeworm comes in two main species, the Pork tapeworm (Taenia Solium) and the Beef tapeworm (Taenia Saginata. As expected, the pork tapeworm comes mainly from eating contaminated pork, and vice versa for the latter. Both can grow up to 100 feet long in large hosts, but in humans they will grow to a maximum length of about 55 ft and will live for nearly 20 years without treatment. Symptoms for intestinal tapeworms include nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. If the tapeworm chews its way out of the intestines, then it can develop into more serious problems, including seizures, internal cysts, fever, and bacterial infection. The most common way to get rid of an intestinal tapeworm is UV radiation. Another is taking medicines which kill the worm. After the tapeworm is dead, it leaves the body naturally, during defecation. An invasive tapeworm requires surgery to remove. <br />3: Hookworms<br />Hookworms are small, 6 inch long worms which have a complicated life cycle, making them difficult to treat and kill. Hookworms enter either by burrowing through the skin, contaminated food, or by breathing in the eggs. The hookworm eggs eventually hatch into baby hookworm larvae, which spend a small period of time developing in the lungs before moving to the intestines via penetrating the alveoli, allowing them to move up the bronchioles and bronchi and burrow through and past the epiglottis, where they are swallowed. They mature in the small intestines. When they reach adulthood, they release ova, which are then defecated out of the body. The main cause of the disease is poor sanitation, allowing the defecated eggs to develop into larvae and penetrate the skin. Use prescribed or commercial drugs to kill them.<br />3: Roundworms<br />Roundworms, also known as nematodes, are intestinal parasites that range in size from microscopic to 2 inches. There are over 16,000 species of parasitic roundworm. The most common way of contracting it is by eating undercooked and contaminated food and/or water. One unusual feature is that most species actually possess a simple digestive system, complete with toothed oral cavity, enzyme producing digestive glands, an intestine, and an anus. Another is that roundworms are not limited to animals, but will also afflict plants, demonstrated by the pine tree nematode and the root-knot nematode. Roundworms will commonly affect the intestines, but will also migrate out to internal organs or muscles. Heartworms are roundworms that have afflicted the heart. Kill them by eating papaya juice, coconuts, honey, raw garlic, and carrots, or buy anti-parasite medication. Avoid simple carbohydrates, fruits, and dairy products, as these are easily absorbed by the worm. <br />4: Fish Tapeworm<br />The fish tapeworm is different from other species of tapeworm. This species is made up of segments, called proglottid segments. It must be eaten by a suitable crustacean host, such as a copepod, to develop. Here, they develop into stage 1 larva. Following the copepod being eaten by a second host, such as a minnow or other small fish, they move into the new host’s muscle tissue, where they become stage 2 larvae, capable of infecting large hosts. Being ingested by a mammal is not part of the usual life cycle due to few mammals eating minnows, but the second host may be eaten by a trout, bass, walleye, or other, larger host. This is the normal way that it is passed into a mammal. After mammalian ingestion, the worm matures in the small intestines, where it attaches itself. The worms may live for 20 years after the initial infection and grow to 30 feet long in extreme cases. Symptoms of the fish tapeworm include (sometimes) parasite-induced B12 deficiency, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, and constipation. Drugs are common treatment, having a high rate of success. <br /> <br />BIBLIOGRAPHY<br />"
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