As reports of parasite contamination extend to more and more of our favorite stores and fast-food franchises, you may be a little worried. These nasty buggers are something you only hear about in far, foreign places or in disturbing, yet highly entertaining National Geographic specials.
They’re scary, but nothing that we ever have to worry about, right?
In reality, they can be a lot closer than you think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that infections don’t only lurk in marginalized and low-income countries — they also exist in the US.
So, what can you do? Well, you always want to consult with your doctor if you feel you might have encountered a pesky, unwanted visitor in your body.
But how do you know if you’re at risk?
Signs of Parasite Infection
There are a variety of these bitty critters, and with them, a variety of symptoms as well. Be careful! This list is enough to make every hypochondriac gasp in terror. But remember, just because you exhibit one of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessary mean you have a parasitic infection.
Here are just a few main signs.
Signs of infection might be visible on the skin. More obvious potential signs include:
- blisters inside of the mouth
Signs may not be as conspicuous sometimes, showing through irritation and itching in areas like the nose, eyes or more intimate places.
Sometimes infections might cause irregular digestive and/or gut activity. That will vary person to person. Generally, this might include:
- abdominal pain
- unusual gas and bloating
Some nutritionists and experts also believe parasitic infection can result in mood change. Does this mean you will turn into a parasite-controlled, zombie-human?!
Well…no. You have a great imagination, though!
More commonly, it is believed that other associated symptoms can lead to anxiety, fatigue or more general mood changes.
One example of this can be seen with toxoplasma gondii. Scientific American reports that the microscopic T. gondii was associated with its hosts being more extroverted and reckless in one study.
This study tested men and who were infected and those who weren’t, with a personality questionnaire. Results showed that the infected felt more social; however, they felt less conscientious. Researchers theorize that the parasite could potentially increase hormone levels, changing dopamine concentration.
But, don’t fret. These studies are far and few between, and even then, they are not the most conclusive. It’s still an interesting idea and we hope more research is published one day.
Fever or Flu-like Symptoms
Healthline reports that fever or flu-like symptoms may signal an infection. This may include:
- swollen lymph nodes
- muscle aches
- hot flashes
Remember, don’t freak out if you’re experiencing these symptoms. They do not always signal parasitic infection.
So, you know the symptoms and you’re more prepared.
But are you prepared to move to a foil-covered home in the isolated frozen tundra? Because you’re about to be.
Just kidding! But we are going to talk about potential risk factors now. So, pay attention.
How exactly can someone contract a parasite? Common risks include:
- undercooked foods (sushi!)
- unclean water supply
- traveling, especially in tropical regions
- working or coming into contact with feces on multiple ocassions
Our friendly pet companions can also carry parasites, picked up from infected rodents and birds outside. This has been observed more in cats than other pets.
No, you don’t need to kick out Mittens. Just make sure his immunizations are current at his yearly check-ups and always wear gloves when cleaning his litter box!
But there is one thing you should be wary about.
Having a weak or compromised immune system puts you at an elevated risk of contraction. So, make sure you’re getting your check-ups, too!
How To Rid Parasites
Okay, so let’s say that you’re interested in getting rid of potential critters overstaying their welcome in your body. What exactly can you do?
Some nutritionists recommend going on a parasite cleanse based on a few plant-based supplements. In a US News & World Report article, one naturopath explains that popular cleanse ingredients include black walnut hull, wormwood and other extracts.
This is a little controversial, because currently, research is lacking.
That’s normal — conventional medicine does not always line up with more traditional, plant-based ways. But we hope that changes one day soon.
Until then, here are just a few ingredients and their purported benefits.
Black Walnut Hull
Black walnut hull is said to be one of the best ingredients to help cleanse out unwanted bugs in the body. Part of the reasoning for this stems from the wild. Some invasive bugs can’t multiply on the black walnut tree bark, as the wood is resistant. There are tons of anecdotal evidence for its effectiveness in ridding parasites from the body, but not as many in scientific study.
Wormwood is associated with treatment for a variety of digestive ailments. When combined with black walnut and cloves, this mixture is said to be one of the best ways to cleanse out those little pests.
Psyllium is also another popular ingredient in treatments for digestive and gut issues. It is said to help encourage release, with its helpful fibers. It is often paired with other plants to help facilitate cleansing.
Pure Planet’s Parasite Cleanse
Pure Planet’s own Organic Parasite Cleanse contains black walnut hull, wormwood, psyllium husk and other plant-based support. With an organic blend of foods and fibers, Parasite Cleanse helps gently encourage peristaltic action and support parasite elimination. Plus, it has a sweet pineapple taste!
NOTE: ALWAYS remember to consult with your health professional regarding your concerns about these bugs. Its better to be safer than sorry.
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