5 Tips for Treating a Parasitic Infection

May 7th 2016

Parasites can be uncomfortable and dangerous, but modern medical treatment can generally eliminate them quickly and easily. Adhering to your doctor's instructions, using supportive treatments and committing to a follow-up appointment can help speed up the treatment and prevent the parasites from spreading.

Give a Thorough History

When you seek medical treatment, the doctor generally begins by asking about symptoms and history. Be sure to mention any potential risk factors for parasite infection during this interview. Many parasites are restricted to certain geographical areas, so discuss any recent travel. Other risk factors to mention include any improperly cooked or stored food you have eaten recently, unprotected sexual encounters, or swimming in natural bodies of water such as lakes or ponds.

Follow Directions

Although some parasites, such as toxoplasmosis, are often not treated if they're not causing any negative symptoms, many can be cleared up with safe and effective anti-parasitic drugs. Some of these drugs work in one dose, but others may require repeated administration. Be sure to follow the directions exactly; missing a dose or not taking the full dose may result in reinfection.

Consider Alternate Remedies

Some herbal and other alternative remedies have been shown to work fairly well against certain parasites. Raw garlic, pomegranates and pumpkin seeds are among the foods that may help clear out intestinal parasites. A mixture of honey and papaya seeds may also help. Be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush out your system, and eat a diet high in fiber. Supplementation with zinc and vitamin C may also help your immune system fight off the parasites. Always consult your doctor before using these alternate remedies.

Know Your Risk

Although most parasites cannot be easily spread between healthy adults, you may be at risk of spreading the disease to people with compromised immune systems. Talk to your doctor about ways to minimize the risk of contagion if you're around children, elderly people or people with conditions such as HIV. Even if the risk of contagion is low, consider washing your hands more frequently as a precaution.

Follow Up

Parasites tend to live in predictable cycles, and several life stages may exist in the same person at the same time. This can make some infections difficult to clear up, especially if eggs or larval stages are encysted. If your doctor advises a follow-up test after treatment, be sure to heed his advice in order to avoid reinfection.

Conclusion

Although most parasitic infections in healthy adults are rare, they can occur and cause discomfort and embarrassment. They're more common in young children and elderly people, and clearing them up quickly can be important. If you or a loved one does get a parasitic infection, there are ways to help the treatment work quickly and effectively.

Sources

UMM.edu "Intestinal parasites" http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/intestinal-parasites
Healthline.com "Parasitic infections" http://www.healthline.com/health/parasitic-infections#Overview1
HealthyChildren.org "Tips for treating viruses, fungi, and parasites" https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/treatments/Pages/Tips-For-Treating-Viruses-Fungi-and-Parasites.aspx

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