Q. and A. with Dr. Kiskila- This Month’s Topic: Parasite Infections
Question- Dr. Kiskila, what is a parasite?
Answer- A parasite is an organism that lives in a host and gets its food from or at the expense of its host. Parasites come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and they cause a diverse range of health issues. For instance, some parasites consume what you digest leaving you hungry and undernourished. Others can cause anemia by feeding on your red blood cells. Parasites can also lay eggs which cause itching and even sleeplessness. Tapeworms are parasites that can live in the human gastrointestinal tract.
Question- How do I get a parasite infection?
Answer- Humans typically get a parasite from undercooked meats like beef, chicken or raw freshwater fish. Fruits and vegetables that are not clean can harbor parasites. Some parasites can multiply in humans and can be passed from person to person through stool. People can also get parasites from poor sanitation areas or when people don’t wash their hands before handling food. Parasites can lurk in contaminated water in underdeveloped countries as well.
Question- What are the symptoms of a parasite infection?
Answer- Parasite infections are sometimes asymptomatic. Diarrhea, weight loss, anal itching, and sometimes vitamin B12 deficiency could be symptoms of a parasite infection. Some other symptoms may include nausea, weight loss, or stomach pain. Visualizing worms in the stool is a sign of tapeworm infestation.
Question- What is the treatment for a parasite infection?
Answer- Typically a stool test is used to determine if a parasite infection is present. Prescription medicines that you can get from a doctor is a typical treatment of an infection.
Question- How do I prevent getting a parasite infection?
Answer- Eat properly cooked meats, and washing your hands before eating and after using the restroom. See a doctor for any symptoms that may be from a parasite infection.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.