Monsters in My Body

Categories: Health
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Published on: October 12, 2017

No one likes to talk about parasites, but a lot of them can thrive in our bodies. Not all parasites affect the body negatively, but an infestation can lead to diseases.

Platyhelminthes
1. Tapeworms
They live in the intestines for up to 25 years and can be acquired through contaminated food. They can survive for a while after they are excreted in the feces and need one or more hosts in their entire life cycle.

2. Flatworms
They can enter the skin through contaminated water and live in the bloodstream. The host may not experience any symptom for years. Too many of these will damage the liver.

Roundworms
1. Ascarids
These spaghetti-like nematodes can be acquired by ingestion. The eggs live in the intestinal walls and make it to the bloodstream. They travel to the lungs, are coughed up and then swallowed back

2. Hookworms
They can be acquired through contaminated food and water. The larvae thrives in the intestines and take the blood. An infestation can cause a type of anemia called anchylostomiasis.

3. Filarias
These are passed on by mosquitoes and live in our bloodstream. In some cases they cause filariasis and elephantiasis.

4. Pinworms
Also called threadworms, they lay their eggs around the anus and cause itching. So when you scratch with your bare hands, you’re aiding contamination.

5. Whipworm
They live in the intestines for almost five years and are common in warm areas where they are passed through infected feces.

Arthropods
1. Scabies Mites
They lay eggs on the skin after the parasite is transferred through physical contact. That is when the itching starts. If not treated, it can develop into scabies.

2. Lice
There are three types of lice that can live on the human body. The most common is the head lice which can be passed by direct contact. The eggs are called nits and are stuck to the hair strands.

3. Bed Bugs
They live inside or near mattresses and feed on human blood. They can survive for years and are very difficult to remove. An infected house usually needs to replace some furniture.

Eukaryotes
1. Microsporidia
These are spore-forming fungi usually associated with HIV and other immune deficiency illnesses. They can be transmitted through inhalation of the spores or through contaminated water.

2. Entamoeba histolytica
Known for causing amoebiasis, they usually spread through fecal contamination. They are also found in water, vegetables and fruits.

3. Trichomonas
This protozoan is transmitted through sexual contact and live in the urethra. They cause no symptoms among men but women may experience itching.

4. Toxoplasma gondii
If you consume undercooked meat, these parasites can invade your central nervous system and cause flu-like symptoms. They also reproduce in the intestines of your cats.

5. Cryptosporidium
Called crypto, it lives in water and can survive even chlorine treatment. They can cause diarrhea.

6. Giardia
The Giardia lamblia is a protozoan that lives in the intestines. It survives in water and when it travels up to the gut may, it causes inflammation. There are other protozoans also common in the intestines.

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