When it comes to creepy things worse than what you see at Halloween, parasites take first place. These are organisms that range in size from microscopic to several feet long that live on other live organisms, like humans, animals, and fish. Parasites have one goal in life: to get a free ride from their host, and they may even destroy it in the process.
The big problem these days is that international travel has allowed people harboring some pretty serious parasites to move from their countries into other countries, allowing the parasites to spread and infecting thousands unknowingly. And because doctors are unknowledgeable about the new parasites, they can easily miss the diagnosis.
Being knowledgeable about parasites makes a lot of sense, and to start off your education, take a look at some of these creepy parasites, many that kill thousands of people each year.
If you take a look at the ‘face’ of a hookworm, you’ll primarily see a mouth. That jagged mouth ‘hooks’ onto its favorite tissues in the human body; the small intestine. Once they hook on, they tap into your bloodstream and start taking your nutrients and your blood. You can end up with anemia, muscle wasting, heart failure, and even die from the infections. The worst part of all is that you will have no noticeable symptoms until it’s too late. Luckily, herbs help eradicate this one.
2. Schistosoma Blood Flukes
These live and proliferate in Africa, Middle East, South Asia, and South America. They’re a type of flatworm that is transmitted from water snails. This parasite wins an award for infecting more than 200 million people worldwide.
Symptoms include itching, rashes, diarrhea, coughing, headaches, fever, and chills. These are the less serious symptoms, but when the abdominal pain, enlarged liver or spleen, bladder pain, show up, you know that Schistosoma is not your friend. Luckily, herbs help eradicate this one.
Approximately, 13.9 percent of the U.S. population has antibodies against this parasitic infection. Sadly, the rest of us are at risk of acquiring it through roundworms often found in the intestines of dogs and cats. About 14 percent of Americans have had exposure to Toxocara, and at least 70 people die from the infection each year.
4. Filarial Worm
You’ll always remember to cover up or use some type of mosquito protection before going outside after learning about these parasites. Once infected mosquito bites you or your foot, your whole limb will swell up to sometimes, four times its usual size, and the swelling won’t go down. The body part ends up literally looking like elephant’s skin.
But here’s the worst part – the swelling could occur in the breasts or the testicles. Men with filariasis as the infection is called are sometimes seen in photos pushing a wheelbarrow carrying their own enlarged testicle! There are not just one species of this horrible monster around. There are 12,500! Luckily, herbs can help.
Tapeworm can be found in pork, fish, or beef. Any uncooked meat might be carrying tapeworm. Once it sets up shop in your intestinal tract, it can stay for up to 30 years! Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, nausea, and many more unpleasant symptoms. Luckily, herbs help eradicate this one.
6. Guinea Worm
Jimmy Carter tried his best to fight the Guinea Worm, another horrible creepy crawler that loves human flesh. This worm is caused by a nematode roundworm that grows to about 3 feet long and 2 mm diameter.
It first enters the skin and causes a very painful sore there. Then it travels through the subcutaneous tissue and settles in the joints.
Expect severe pain, fever, nausea and vomiting as a result of this critter. And if you want to remove it, you’ll have to coax it out from the skin, wrap the end of it on a stick and then keep pulling it out slowly. The remaining wound can be easily infected with bacteria. And that’s just one of them. It takes weeks to pull them out!
7. Protozoan Trypanosoma Parasites
These are spread via the tsetse fly and cause a disease called African sleeping sickness. At first, the symptoms are mild – headaches, fever, joint pain – and eventually confusion.
But this dastardly little parasite is out for your life and goes straight to your nervous system where it causes muscle weakness and paralysis. The end result is death due to organ failure. It’s primarily found in Africa, spread out over the entire continent. Luckily, herbs can help.
(Note: If you want to learn the secret to cleanse internal parasites within 15 days that Master Herbologist and Nutritionist Dr. Donna Schwontkowski has recommended and used with her patients for over 20 years, you can check out the guide here.)
These are another type of roundworm and they cause trichuriasis. The shape of the whipworm gives it its name, but you might as well think of it as whipping your intestines. It causes a lot of bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, malnutrition, rectal prolapse, and cognitive disorders.
Human feces and fertilizers using human feces transmit whipworm. Dumb idea, and one that is used a lot more often than you think! Luckily, herbs can help eradicate this one.
Malaria is caused by a parasite carried by a mosquito and it’s found even in the U.S. This parasite also gets an award for infecting over 200 million people worldwide. It claims its fair share of deaths as well, at 438,000 so far. Most of the cases of malaria are found in South Asia and the sub-Saharan Africa region, but infected travelers bring it with them to whatever country they go.
There are different stages of malaria, and symptoms depend on what stage you’re in. When the parasite invades a red blood cell, it excretes toxic substances that are then dumped into the bloodstream. A malarial attack brings on first a sensation of cold, and shivering.
This is followed by a hot stage with fever, headaches and vomiting in young children. Then comes the sweating. By the end of the attack, the person is fatigued and has body aches and pains. As malaria progresses, the spleen and liver enlarge, and death can occur.
Leishmania is spread by sand flies. It causes skin sores that won’t heal, but worse yet, it goes to the internal organs and causes problems with the liver, spleen and bone marrow. The skin sores start out as little bumps in the skin and can become ulcers that get an ugly crust on them. The parasites activate the immune system and often the lymph nodes will swell, overwhelmed by the presence of the parasites.
When the internal organs are affected, the condition becomes life-threatening. It takes a few months for this to occur, but you’ll see fever, anemia, low white blood cells, weight loss and enlarged belly as the internal organs accumulate the parasites.
In Latin America, the parasite infects the throat, mouth and mucosal membranes. Those from tropical countries and southern Europeans are most prone to develop this disease.
If you want diarrhea, spend some time drinking water from lakes, rivers and even mountain streams in the U.S., as a study done about a decade ago reported that over 90% of all American natural water formations were infected. This means it’s a serious condition for hikers and backpackers who think the water is pristine.
Giardia amoeba survives outside the body because of a shell that surrounds it.This makes it easy to get into the soil or the GI tract of animals that spread it. The shell makes it resistant to chlorine disinfection.
Symptoms include diarrhea, gas, greasy stools that float, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and dehydration. It can cause weight loss, and it can interfere with your uptake of vitamin A, B12, lactose and fat. If kids get it, the infection can stunt their growth (mental and physical), and cause malnutrition.
12. Onchocerca Parasite
The Onchocerca parasite worm causes river blindness; a disease that occurs in the tropics. The black flies bite people living or working near fast-flowing bodies of water and transmit the infection. The infection causes nodules under the skin and intense itching, or it attacks the eyes and causes blindness.
The only good news about this parasitic infection is that you need multiple bites for the infection to manifest; and this doesn’t usually happen when someone is traveling to the infected areas. It’s found in Yemen, the Middle East, South America, Mexico and Guatemala. About 25 million people are thought to be infected worldwide.
13. Naegleria Fowleri, the Brain-eating Amoeba
This one is definitely one of the worst. It’s a microscopic amoeba found in hot springs, warm fresh water as in lakes and rivers, and in the soil. The amoeba gets into the human body through the nose and travels up the olfactory nerve when you’re swimming or diving. Next it swims up to the brain and causes meningoencephalitis.
Symptoms start with a severe frontal headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Next, stiff neck, hallucinations, and altered mental status proceeds, culminating in a coma. The infection is usually fatal within 18 days of becoming infected.
Botflies are parasites that drop their larvae onto a human or animal host. The larvae burrow into the skin. The body heat of the human/ animal allows the larvae to hatch. Next, a hard, large bump appears in the skin that is very painful.
To get the larvae out, you have to suffocate them via application of petroleum jelly, pork fat, fingernail polish, or wax (beeswax). Botflies are found in South and Central America.
So there you go, thirteen creepy parasites that can infect humans – some with horrific side effects. Millions of Americans develop parasitic infections, and symptoms often are misdiagnosed, meaning that the real cause of your poor health is left untreated.
The good news is that doing a natural parasite cleanse to eradicate these creatures before they become a problem is a simple process that doesn’t require harsh prescription medication. There are some very effective natural herbs that can help you kill off any parasite larvae or eggs before things get too serious and your health is affected.