Causes of Parasites
Typically caused by the parasite’s entry into the body via the skin or mouth, parasites can be picked up from many sources including the soil, walking barefoot and allowing entry through the feet, or by placing the hands in the dirt and fingers in the mouth. You cannot avoid parasites as they are everywhere and make the world go round. It’s only when we are out of whack that we feel the effects. And… it’s not the actual parasites that cause the symptoms that we feel – it’s the die-off from these creatures that has the effect on us.
Most people don’t even know they have them.
I’ve had many clients come to see me with symptoms of parasitic infections and in some cases I suggested they go see their doctor and get tested. Several of them came back to me saying their doctor dismissed having parasites (without testing) but offered no solution other than to take antacids or ducolax or other prescription to help alleviate their symptoms. So I decided to visit my family doctor to find out his opinion. This is how it went…
Me – “Hi Doc, I’d like to get tested for parasites as I am experiencing some symptoms that might be related to having them”
Doc – “Parasites? There are no parasites in Canada”
Me – “Really? Well, I’m experiencing some symptoms that might be related and I have a small dog and he sleeps on my bed so maybe I have picked something up from him?”
Doc – “Unless you have travelled to another country, you won’t have them”
Me – “What about visitors that come here from other countries, couldn’t they bring them here?”
He rolled his eyes at me as if to say “Oh, here she goes again…”
He reluctantly gave me one “test kit” and when I asked him for a second one he said, “Why do you want a second one?” When I explained they were difficult to detect, and are more active during different times of the day/week or month, (like during a full moon), he really rolled his eyes at me.
Your doctor will not screen for parasites without what they perceive to be a “good reason” – like you have been away to another Country. Blood tests or fecal samples can determine parasites, but not all parasites. Pinworms require a nightly anal test, typically for three nights, where a sticky slide is placed on either side of the anus to pick up any eggs that have been laid. Analyzing the slide under a microscope can determine the presence of pinworm.
Your doctor may do little or nothing for the treatment of parasitic disease. Most often symptoms are mild and people think this is “normal” and suffer in silence. Usually, it’s not until they have told family or friends they are having difficulty or realize this is not normal will they then seek help from alternative sources.
It’s not their fault. Doctors have not been educated to consider the symptoms as a possible parasitic disease. Unless there are serious symptoms or the infestation is large enough to cause a health problem, doctors believe most of the symptoms will clear up on their own.
For serious symptomatic cases, prescription medication can be administered to kill the parasite or to relieve the symptoms caused by the parasite. Pinworm discomfort can be handled with an anti-itch cream, whilst Lyme disease can only be treated by directly treating the side-effects.
Parasites such as lice are created through human contact with a person who is already infected with the parasite. Ticks can be picked up through walking outdoors, close contact with a dog or cat, or brought in from outside in various packages. Mosquitoes are parasites which simply attack humans for their blood and leave as quickly as they arrive. We can also pick them up from flies and other common insect pests.
Parasites can be found in foods, especially under-cooked or exotic foods. Beware Sushi Lovers!