Parasites

Parasites come in many forms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even animals. They can live in various parts of the host's body, such as the skin, gut, or blood. Some common examples of parasites include tapeworms, lice, and malaria-causing protozoa. These organisms can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild discomfort to serious illness or death. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of parasitic infections and to seek medical attention if you suspect you have been infected. Additionally, practicing good hygiene and avoiding exposure to known sources of parasites can help prevent infection.

It is difficult to estimate exactly how many people have a parasite at any given time, as the prevalence of parasitic infections varies widely depending on factors such as location, socioeconomic status, and access to healthcare. However, it is estimated that billions of people worldwide are affected by parasitic infections. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), parasitic diseases affect more than 1 billion people, and are responsible for over 170,000 deaths per year. The majority of these deaths occur in developing countries, where access to clean water and sanitation is limited.

What are the three types of parasites?

  • Protozoa are microscopic, one-celled organisms that can multiply in the human body, causing infections such as malaria, amoebiasis, and giardiasis.
  • Helminths are larger, multicellular organisms that include worms such as tapeworms and roundworms. These parasites can live in the gut, blood, and other organs, and can cause symptoms such as malnutrition, anemia, and abdominal pain.
  • Ectoparasites are organisms that live on the outside of the host, such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, lice, and mites. These parasites can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, malaria, and plague.

It's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of parasitic infections, and to seek medical attention if you suspect you have been infected. Additionally, taking steps to prevent infection, such as practicing good hygiene, avoiding exposure to known sources of parasites, and using protective measures such as mosquito nets and tick repellents, can help reduce the risk of infection.

Do parasites exist in Canada / the USA?

Parasitic infections are a common problem not only in underdeveloped countries but also in developed countries like the USA and Canada. These infections can occur due to various reasons such as traveling to endemic areas, eating contaminated food or water, poor hygiene, and other lifestyle factors.

In the USA, parasitic infections are a significant public health concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that parasitic infections affect millions of people in the United States each year. Some common parasitic infections in the USA include Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Cyclospora which are primarily caused by contaminated water and food. 

Similarly, in Canada, parasitic infections are also a significant public health concern. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) estimates that parasitic infections affect millions of people in Canada each year. Some common parasitic infections in Canada include Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Toxoplasmosis, which are primarily caused by contaminated water and food. Additionally, travelers returning from endemic areas may also bring back parasitic infections such as malaria, leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease.

It is important to be aware of the risk factors and take steps to prevent infection. This includes practicing good hygiene, avoiding exposure to known sources of parasites, and seeking medical attention if you suspect you have been infected.

How do you get a parasite?

  • Contaminated water: Drinking or swimming in contaminated water can lead to parasitic infections such as giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, and schistosomiasis.
  • Contaminated food: Eating contaminated food, particularly undercooked or raw meat, can lead to parasitic infections such as trichinosis and toxoplasmosis.
  • Soil: Contact with contaminated soil can lead to parasitic infections such as cutaneous larva migrans and toxocariasis.
  • Sexual contact: Some parasites can be spread through sexual contact, such as trichomoniasis and pubic lice.
  • Poor food handling: Not washing hands and utensils properly or eating food from unhygienic sources can lead to parasitic infections.
  • Pets: Pets can carry parasites that can be spread to humans, such as toxoplasmosis and roundworm infection.
  • Travel: Traveling to areas with high rates of parasitic infections, such as tropical and subtropical regions, can increase the risk of contracting a parasite.
  • Airborne transmission: Some parasites, such as Cryptosporidium and Legionella, can be spread through the air via contaminated droplets.
  • Insect bites: Some parasites, such as Plasmodium (which causes malaria) and Leishmania, are transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes and sandflies.
  • Transplacental transmission: Some parasites, such as Toxoplasma gondii, can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn child.
  • Blood transfusion and organ transplant: Parasites can be transmitted through blood transfusions and organ transplants from an infected individual.

Ticks can carry parasites. Ticks are known to transmit a number of different pathogens, including Lyme disease, protozoa, bacteria, viruses, and rickettsia that can cause diseases in humans.

It is important to be aware of the risk factors and take steps to prevent infection, such as practicing good hygiene, avoiding exposure to known sources of parasites, and using protective measures such as mosquito nets and tick repellents. Additionally, if you suspect that you have been infected with a parasite, it's essential to seek medical attention.

What percentage of the population has parasites?

Parasitic infections are a common problem affecting a significant portion of the global population. It is estimated that around 50-80% of both adults and children may be infected with parasites and may not even know it. The exact percentage varies depending on factors such as location, socioeconomic status, and access to healthcare.

In developing countries, the percentage of the population affected by parasitic infections is likely to be higher due to poor sanitation and limited access to clean water and healthcare. In these areas, parasitic infections can be a leading cause of illness and death. In developed countries, the percentage of the population affected by parasitic infections is likely to be lower, but still significant. The risk of infection can be increased by traveling to endemic areas, eating contaminated food or water, poor hygiene, and other lifestyle factors.

It's important to note that many parasitic infections may be asymptomatic or mild, so many people may not even know that they have one. Additionally, people living in developed countries may also have a risk of parasitic infections due to travel, food consumption, or lifestyle habits. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the risk factors and to take steps to prevent infection.

What are the symptoms of parasites?

The symptoms of parasitic infections can vary widely depending on the type of parasite, the location of the infection, and the overall health of the individual. Some possible symptoms of parasitic infections include:

  • Digestive symptoms: Abdominal gas, bloating and pain, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, GERD, IBS, and undiagnosed digestive complaints.
  • Immune system symptoms: Slow to heal wounds, frequent colds or flu, recurring cold sores, infections, worsening symptoms for asthma, persistent cough, sore throat, sinusitis, and post-nasal drip.
  • Chronic infections: Urinary tract infections (UTIs), vaginitis, chronic or acute yeast infections, thrush, athlete's foot, or slow to heal or recover from any infection.
  • Pain: Chronic pain, joint pain, muscle pain and stiffness, increase in overall inflammation, and irritated pain in areas of previous injuries or arthritis.
  • Neurological symptoms: Fatigue, dizziness, loss of balance, brain fog, worsening of existing neurological conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, numbness, tingling and tremors.
  • Mental health symptoms: Anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, hyperactivity (especially in children).
  • Skin conditions: Hives, itching, acne, cystic acne, eczema, rashes, boils, and undiagnosed skin irritations, rashes.
  • Allergies and sensitivities: An increase or new occurrence in allergies and sensitivities whether environmental, food or chemical.
  • Hormone disturbances: Menopause, PMS, low sex drive, thyroid disorders.
  • Sleep: Insomnia, waking at night especially between 1-3am, sweating at night, waking at night feeling anxious, excessive need for sleep.
  • Cravings: An increase in cravings for sugar, carbohydrates (carbs) alcohol and salt.
  • Poor nutrient absorption: Parasites will often cause inflammation leading to poor absorption especially of iron and B12 among others.
  • Anemia: Some parasites can cause anemia due to blood loss or destruction of red blood cells.
  • Malnutrition: Parasites can cause malabsorption of nutrients leading to malnutrition.
  • Fever: Some parasites can cause fever as a symptom of infection.
  • Weight loss: Due to malabsorption, diarrhea, or poor appetite, some people with parasitic infections may experience weight loss.
  • Anal itching or rectal pain: Some parasites, such as pinworm or scabies, can cause itching or pain around the anus or rectum.
  • Swelling: Some parasites can cause swelling or inflammation of the affected area.
  • Respiratory symptoms: Some parasites can cause respiratory symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, or cough.
  • Eye symptoms: Some parasites can cause eye symptoms such as redness, pain, or vision problems.

How are parasites treated?

Conventional medicine may not always recognize parasites as a cause of disease and the testing can be inaccurate. Therefore, it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional who specializes in parasitic infections. They will assess the patient's history and test with the BioScan SRT and other methodologies to identify any physical causes or contributors such as candidaLyme diseasepost-viral syndromefood sensitivities and allergies or poor diet, heavy metal toxicity which need to be determined before starting the treatment.

It's important to note that treatment will often include a combination of methods such as diet recommendations, lifestyle changes and supplements and herbs according to each patient's specific needs.

How can acupuncture help treat parasites?

Acupuncture is a complementary therapy that can be used in conjunction with conventional treatments to help treat parasitic infections. Acupuncture is based on the principle of restoring balance to the body's energy flow, known as Qi (pronounced "chee"). By inserting thin needles into specific points on the body, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body's natural healing processes and reduce symptoms associated with parasitic infections.

Acupuncture can be beneficial in the treatment of parasitic infections by:

  • Reducing inflammation: Acupuncture can help reduce inflammation in the body, which can help to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with parasitic infections.
  • Improving digestion: Acupuncture can help to improve digestion and reduce symptoms such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, which are common in parasitic infections.
  • Boosting the immune system: Acupuncture can help to strengthen the immune system and improve the body's ability to fight off parasitic infections.
  • Reducing anxiety and stress: Acupuncture can help to reduce anxiety and stress, which can be beneficial in managing symptoms associated with parasitic infections.
  • Improving sleep: Acupuncture can help to improve sleep, which is essential for the body to heal and recover from parasitic infections.
  • Detoxifying the body: Acupuncture can help to improve the body's ability to detox, which can help to eliminate parasites from the body.

It is important to consult with a qualified acupuncturist who has experience in treating parasitic infections, in combination with your conventional medical practitioner. Acupuncture can be an effective complementary therapy for treating parasitic infections and may help improve overall symptoms and recovery.