When people think of parasitic infections and the terrible diseases that they cause, they seem like remote possibilities — diseases that affect those who visit Africa, Asia or the jungles of Latin America. The blindness, seizures, heart failure and other nightmare outcomes don’t seem like threats that could affect citizens of a developed country.
Certainly, the government doesn’t seem to issue too many warnings about parasitic infections; friends don’t have conversations about them, and magazine articles don’t discuss them. In truth, though, according to the CDC, around a third of Americans struggle with parasitic infections each year (see: cdc.gov/parasites/npi/).
As hard as the following numbers may be to believe, they are certified by the government:
- At any given time, 60 million Americans carry the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. They get it from undercooked food (both meat and vegetables), or get it from pets at home (cleaning cat litter boxes is a particular risk). Many who are infected go on to suffer from toxoplasmosis, with symptoms that range from flulike effects to poor immunity and brain damage.
- Hundreds of Americans visit hospitals each year for treatment for neurocysticercosis– a tapeworm-borne disease that causes brain damage. People get it from eating poorly cooked pork.
- Dozens of children in America are blinded each year by toxocariasis, a disease caused by the roundworm, a parasitic worm found on dogs, cats and other household pets.
- 4 million Americans carry the trichomonas parasite, and many suffer from trichomoniasis, the sexually transmitted disease that it causes.
Your body may already be home to at least one parasite
With the environment teeming with dangerous parasites, good, hygienic habits and a decent diet are the only ways to keep yourself and your family safe. But what if there’s already a parasite in your system? Read on to discover if you exhibit symptoms that could mean a parasite cleanse is in order.
Parasites of the digestive system can suck out enough nutrients from the gut to leave the body struggling for enough minerals, vitamins and energy to function. Additionally, many parasites over-stimulate the body’s immune system. This results in multiple types of immune disorders.
Intestinal parasites can affect the central nervous system and disrupt the body’s sleep pattern. The physical behaviors of parasites can also disturb sleep.
Poor skin health
The presence of parasites can push the body’s production of certain hormones into overdrive. Eczema, rashes, hives and other reactions become common then. Intestinal parasites cause further skin troubles. They disrupt the digestive process, and cause multiple allergies that show up on the skin — lesions, swellings, sores and ulcers.
Joint pain and aching
Parasites often form cysts in the body, and lodge themselves in the muscles. Unending joint and body aches are often the result. Doctors often mistake these symptoms for the effects of arthritis.
With hostile foreign organisms in the body, function is often disrupted in unpredictable ways. The allergies that parasites cause can be very hard for doctors to identify and track down. Food sensitivities, itchiness, unending infections, numbness and other reactions can make life very difficult.
Getting rid of your parasites is often easy
Staying alert to the symptoms of parasite-related diseases – and recognizing symptoms for what they are – is the most important step that you can take to stay parasite-free. If you’re visiting a doctor, bring up the possibility of a parasite infection, and request tests. A number of drugs exist that can easily help cleanse the body of parasites. In general, though, a change of diet can be a wonderful approach to take first before you try drugs.
Garlic, papaya, pineapple, pomegranate, carrot, pumpkinseeds and spices such as turmeric and clove are all wonderful ways to flush the body of unwanted organisms. To make sure that you deny parasites the kind of nutrients that they look for, you should turn your diet away from processed, sugary foods, and include plenty of high-quality whole foods instead.