Parasites are something that we associate with third-world or tropical countries, but there is growing concern in the medical community that parasites might be the cause of many common ailments in the United States today. The CDC has reported that over 60 million people in America have some type of parasitic infection, and most of these people are unaware they are infected. These parasites could be making us sick and causing allergies, aches and pains, coughing, and low energy; even eventually leading to pain, seizures, and death. Parasites are being found everywhere, including our drinking water, our food, and our own backyards. Doctors are not diagnosing parasites properly because many of the symptoms appear to be like the common flu or other less dangerous ailments.
Dr. Florian Reyda (Parasitologist) and Dr. Margaret Williamson (Infectious Disease Specialist) appeared on the Dr. Oz show to discuss the rise of parasites in America. Dr. Oz asked why this was now a growing problem, and Dr. Reyda explained that Americans are now able to travel to the countries where these parasites reside, and they bring them back when they return home. Also, people from those tropical countries are traveling to America and bringing the parasites with them. The importation of produce from these countries is helping to spread the parasites, which are being brought in on fruits and vegetables.
3 Common Parasites That Are Affecting Americans:
These parasitic worms live in the intestines of cats and dogs, where they mate and lay eggs. These eggs are then passed out in fecal matter, and can infect humans. There are around 10,000 known cases a year, but it is believed that this could actually number two to three million unreported cases per year. Symptoms are similar to the flu, with the infected person feeling unwell, experiencing headaches, abdominal pain, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, fever and chest pain. Normally, it is children who are affected, and diagnosis can be easily accomplished with a blood test.
Ticks are the carriers of this parasite, which lives in human red blood cells. Babesia destroys the blood cells, and keeps them from providing energy to the body. Symptoms include: headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, chills, fever, and sweating. Small ticks can be hard to find, but once they are engorged with blood, they are hard to miss. Symptoms present weeks after being bitten, but this can span as long as months afterwards. Diagnosis can be made via a blood smear, where the parasite can actually be observed destroying the cells.
These parasitic worms line the blood vessels of aquatic birds, like ducks. They live in the blood, mate, and then lay eggs, which are passed into the bird feces. The feces goes into the water they live in, and the eggs are picked up by snails. They develop in the snails, and then become small worms that swim through the water and burrow into the skin of other birds. Unfortunately, they sometimes burrow into the skin of a human, and this causes “swimmer’s itch”. Within a couple of hours, the skin becomes uncomfortable and begins to burn. Twelve hours later, the itching becomes severe, and there is a body-wide rash, which can be bumpy and develop pustules or pimples, even weeping lesions and blisters. Baking soda or cortisone can be put on the rash for relief, but sometimes a stronger course of steroids is required.
What You Can Do – Prevention and Elimination
Increase whole grains in Your Diet
Once a week, greatly increase the amount of whole grains in your diet. This includes beans, lentils, and whole-grain breads. Some parasites attach to the lining of your stomach, and eating high-fiber foods makes it more difficult for them to get a firm hold on the lining. The parasites are then more easily flushed out of your system.
Also, start taking a pro-biotic to improve gut health. Specifically, take S. Boulardii, which contains yeast and makes your stomach a difficult place for parasites to reside in. It also boosts your immune system, so that your body is better able to fight off the parasites. Dr. Oz recommends that taking two 250mg capsules per day.
Eating garlic helps to kill off the microscopic parasites in your body. To get the highest amount of allicin (the active ingredient) from the garlic, make sure to crush to it thoroughly. Eating two cloves a day will help you get rid of a parasite infection if you have it.
Another remedy that has been around for a long time, is wormwood tea. It is believed that the tea kills or paralyses the worms in your gut, and allows them to be flushed out of your system. The tea also reduces the overall egg count in feces, so significantly reduces the chances of passing the parasite on to others. Wormwood can be brewed from loose-leaf tea or is available in extract form. It is recommended that you have one cup a day.
If you think you might be infected with a parasite, it is important to go to your regular doctor and ask; the chances are they will not think you have a parasitic infection in the first instance. Your doctor can do some simple tests to check for parasites, but an infectious specialist can do the more complex tests.
Read also: Intestinal Parasites Symptoms and Remedies