The relationship between parasites and humans goes back a long way, to evolution in fact. Many a parasite can
only reach maturity in a human body, including tapeworms Taenia
saginata or Taenia solium. Other species, like certain types of
pinworms, feed exclusively on humans for their entire life cycle.
This means the battle against parasites is not easily won. We
have to work against thousands of years of evolutionary development
driving these parasites to infest humans for survival.
Keeping ourselves free of parasites becomes
an even tougher task when considering that in the human body parasite
presence can be asymptomatic. This means parasites can be in your
system for decades, infecting muscle tissue and even your nervous
system without you knowing. Some parasites actually feed on your
tissue and body organs while others consume your digested food,
stealing away the nutrients that fuel body function. When
parasites present symptoms, they can include nausea, abdominal
cramping, and weakness. In the long term, they can cause malnutrition,
constant fatigue, infections, and even neurological damage.
Medical testing for parasites can be unreliable
considering that more than 1,000 species of parasites can infest
humans with only about 50 detectable in normal screenings. Those
tests are not always accurate, leaving even more to chance. Luckily,
the serious damage caused by a long-term parasite infestation
in the human system is slow to come, so prevention and early treatment
can keep you healthy. Frequent bathing, regular housekeeping,
cooking meat thoroughly, avoiding water in developing countries,
and washing your hands regularly – especially after contact
with pets or soil – are good prevention methods.