Water is essential not only for survival but also in almost every part of our lives. Every day, people use water to survive. However, when water becomes contaminated, it can cause various illnesses. One common contaminant present in water is parasites.
A parasite is an organism that lives on or inside another organism. They can enter our bodies through food, drink, animal contact, or even infected places. Drinking water contaminated with parasites could lead to serious health problems – severe pain, dysfunctions, and even death.
Water-borne diseases are linked to severe health problems. Sometimes parasites are underlying health problems that can cause persistent and long-term diseases. These water-borne disease parasites are present in untreated water like lakes, rivers, and drinking water sources.
What are the potential parasites in the drinking water? How can we eliminate these parasites? Access to filtered drinking water and avoiding contact with contaminated water sources are a few safe methods for preventing water-borne and parasitic infections.
Learn about common parasites and their specific types found in the drinking water. To eliminate these parasites, one must understand their mechanisms. This would lead you to know how it could result in infection or lead to illnesses.
Cryptosporidium is a parasite present in lakes and rivers through sewage and animal waste. This can survive a long time in the water without a host. With treatment, this disease usually takes one to two weeks to subside. A cryptosporidium infection can be life-threatening for those with a weak immune system.
For people with a normal immune system, the symptoms typically last for 1-2 weeks, and there is no medication required. However, for people with a compromised immune system, the infection can last longer and become more serious. The water must undergo filtration to remove Cryptosporidium.
It is also called giardia
, which are protozoa that can spread very easily, especially among children. Giardia cysts can live in water for several months. It develops into adult protozoa and attaches itself to the small intestine wall at the outlet to the stomach. Then it reproduces more cysts and becomes a parasite. If an infection occurs, it causes gastrointestinal illness
You can get giardiasis if you swallow Giardia germs. Giardia develops quickly and can spread from one individual to another or through contaminated water, food, surfaces, or objects. The most widely recognized way individuals become ill is by ingesting contaminated drinking water or recreational water like lakes, rivers, or pools.
This is one of the most common parasitic infections of man and other warm-blooded animals. It is believed to infect up to one-third of the global population. This infection may cause symptoms in infants, especially with a weakened immune system and less to no indicators in adults. Toxoplasmosis may develop in patients, which is a serious and sometimes fatal disease.
Infection can spread through contaminated dirt and water, fruits and vegetables, undercooked meat, organ transplant, blood transfusions, and cat feces. This parasite enters the bloodstream once ingested. When a person has a healthy immune system, it prevents him from acquiring further infection.
A kind of parasite that is classified as helminth nematodes
, also known as a type of roundworm. It feeds on a living host to gain nourishment and protection while causing poor nutrient absorption, weakness and causes illness in the host.
These parasites can lead to Guinea worm disease or dracunculiasis. When people swallow these parasites found in drinking water, larvae move from the intestines to the skin, where they cause sores. Treatment is required before worms can be removed from the skin. Take note; this can take up to years to get rid of the symptoms.
Entamoeba histolytica, or E. histolytica, can cause amoebiasis or amebic dysentery. These amoeba parasites are normally ingested in drinking water contaminated with fecal matter. The fecal matter originally contains the amoeba.
Who is in danger of parasitic infections?
Anybody can get a parasitic infection. However, specific individuals are in graver danger than others. You're bound to get a parasitic infection if you:
- have a compromised immune system or are already sick with another illness
- live or travel in tropical or subtropical parts of the world
- do not have enough clean supply of drinking water.
- swim in lakes, streams, or lakes where Giardia or different parasites are common
- work in childcare, work with soil regularly, or work in different settings where you come into contact with feces consistently
Outside, cats can come into contact with infected rodents and birds. This makes their owners bound to contract toxoplasmosis, a type of protozoa. Toxoplasmosis can be highly unsafe for pregnant women and their developing children. The infection is spread through cat feces. In case you're pregnant, have another person clean the litter box every day.
How to Prevent these Parasitic Infections?
As a general rule, steps that aid with preventing infection by parasites include:
- Good personal hygiene
- Staying away from insect bites
- Staying away from contact with contaminated water or soil
Numerous preventive measures are reasonable anywhere; however, some are more significant in certain regions. Data about precautions required in certain areas are accessible from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler's Health page.
Parasitic Infections Treatment
Typical treatment for these parasitic infections is Antiparasitic drugs.
For some parasitic infections, no treatment is required since the disease vanishes all alone.
A few medications (antiparasitic drugs) are intended primarily to dispense with parasites or, on account of some worm infections, reduce the number of worms enough so symptoms clear up. Likewise, certain antibiotics and antifungal drugs are powerful against some parasitic infections.
No single medication is powerful against all parasites. For some parasitic infections, no drug is effective.
Parasitic Infections Diagnosis
Parasitic infections can be diagnosed in many ways. For instance, your doctor might perform or order:
- A blood test
- A stool test: In such a test, a sample of your stool will be collected and examined for parasites and their eggs.
- An endoscopy or colonoscopy: These tests may be requested if the results of a stool exam are uncertain. While you are sedated, your doctor will pass a thin, flexible tube through your mouth or rectum and into your digestive system to check your intestinal tract.
- X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computerized axial tomography (CAT): These scans are used to examine for signs of lesions or injury to your organs caused by parasites.
Doctors speculate a parasitic infection in individuals who have common symptoms and who live in or have gone to an area where sanitation is poor or where such an infection is known to take place.
Laboratory examination of specimens, including special tests to determine proteins released by the parasite (antigen testing) or genetic material (DNA) from the parasite, may be required. Samples of blood, stool, urine, skin, or sputum may be used, depending on which parasite doctors are looking for.
Doctors may test blood specimens for antibodies to the parasite. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system to help protect the body against a particular attack, including parasites.
Doctors may likewise take a sample of tissue that may contain the parasite. For instance, a biopsy may be done to get a piece of intestinal or other infected tissue. A part of the skin may be clipped. A few samples and repeated examinations may be essential to locate the parasite.
To add, your doctor may also ask for tests to check for bacteria or other things that can cause infections.
Identifying parasites in the digestive system
When the parasites live in the digestive system, the parasite or its eggs or cysts (an inactive and solid type of parasite) might be found in the individual's stool when a sample is inspected under a microscope. Or then again, parasites might be identified by testing the stool for proteins delivered by the parasite or genetic materials. Antibiotics, intestinal medicines, and antacids should not be used until after the stool sample has been gathered. These medications can reduce the number of parasites enough to make seeing the parasites in a stool sample complicated or impossible.
Go for Natural!
The good news is that there are plenty of natural treatments that are effective in helping the body kill and remove various parasites.
Many parasites live in the body with a weak immune system. Some of these people have taken potent anti-parasitic herbs. But they can only have gradual and limited results. The best supplements will not remove all the parasites if one indulges in an unhealthy diet especially filled with processed foods and lots of sugary contents. Eliminating these internal parasites will allow your immune system to regenerate itself and restore your body to a much healthier condition more quickly.
Keep reading and find out the top 8 foods you use to eliminate parasites naturally.
Turmeric has several health benefits, and one of them is known for the treatment of parasitic infections. You can add plenty of turmeric to your food dishes or make tea. You can also take supplements if the taste of turmeric is unpleasing to you.
Just be sure you are getting natural turmeric because many modern curry powders contain very little turmeric.
2. Lemon Seeds
The seeds of lemon are very powerful when crushed can kill parasites. Slice an organic lemon and remove the seeds. Crush them a bit in your blender, then mix with a glass of water and drink it. If the taste doesn’t bother you, then consider chewing and swallowing it.
3. Milk and Castor Oil
Take a glass (8 ounces) of warm milk, mix in two teaspoons of castor oil, and drink it right away. This mixture will kill parasites and get rid of your body through your bowels. Drink one glass a day for at least a week to kill all the parasites in your body.
4. Seeds of Papaya
Most people throw out the black seeds of the papaya, but the seeds help get rid of those nasty parasites. By the next time you eat papaya, swallow the seeds.
Garlic has antibacterial and antifungal properties that are a great remedy for killing parasites. Slightly crushed one or two cloves of fresh, organic garlic and take them every morning. If you do this as a routine, you can be sure you will be parasite-free for as early as a week.
6. Rice Vinegar
In all kinds, vinegar is good for many ailments, including freeing the body from parasites. The more acidic the vinegar is, the better. Mix one tablespoon of rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) in a glass of water and drink every day to kill parasites. If you are suffering from a severe infestation, drink three glasses every day.
7. Pomegranate Juice
You can eat fresh pomegranates or drink juice. Drinking a glass of pomegranate juice regularly will not only kill parasites but will keep your body free from parasites.
Coconut water can kill parasites. Chewing on raw and grated coconut will also kill parasites. If you want a double the intensity of killing the parasite, mix some finely grated raw coconut with the coconut milk and drink them together.
How can you prevent infection? Here are simple ways to avoid infections at home.
- Cleanse, disinfect, and sanitize
- Stop consuming animal products
- Eat adequate raw fruit and vegetables
- Consider cleansing your liver or take a liver detox
- Get good quality probiotics
- Include herbs into your diet
- Cook meat to a safe temperature.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Boil your tap or use a water filter if you will use it as drinking water.
- Do not let your pets, like cats or dogs, get near your kitchen.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water after outdoor activities, especially before you eat or prepare your food.
- Wear gloves when you garden or do anything outdoors that involves handling soil; cats, for instance, may pass the parasite in their feces, and they often use gardens and sandboxes as litter boxes.
- Like cats at home, if you have pets at home, do not feed them with raw or undercooked meat. It would prevent your cats from acquiring Toxoplasma.
A person with a healthy immune system can fight against any parasitic infections. Having a healthy diet helps the immune system in two ways: the body receives the nutrients it needs to fight a parasitic infection and repair cells, another one, it builds new tissue, and it provides the fiber from a diet.
Drinking tons of water will help your digestive system cleanse and free from the parasite. Water contamination is inevitable, but there are many ways to prevent your drinking water from being contaminated with disease-causing parasites. Be cautious and keen on all of your water sources not only at home but wherever you are.
Parasites are a creature that people have to learn to live with. They are in and around our waters for sure, especially where our animals or pets and children play. The best we can do is keep our children and pets safe by being careful and treating the water that enters our homes. Safeguard your homes with the advanced water treatment methods suitable for your budget.
Related articles about Parasites in Drinking Water
Symptoms of Parasitic Infections
An Overview of Parasite Infection
What are Waterborne Parasites?
Disease-causing Organisms Associated with Waterborne Diseases
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