Parasites are microorganisms that survive by feeding on the organism of their host. Living in the human body, they cause serious health problems, and as a result of their reproduction, they can be fatal.
Parasitic organisms are generally classified into two types:
- Zooparasites, which include parasitic worms (helminths, flatworms), arachnids, ticks, molluscs, etc.
- Phytoparasites are parasitic plants, viruses, pathogenic fungi, etc.
Also, some types of viruses, leading a parasitic lifestyle at the expense of a foreign organism, can be classified as parasites.
Unfortunately, even modern society is not able to fully protect itself from being infected with parasites, but if you carry out an analysis for parasites in time, you can avoid their reproduction and get rid of them without serious harm to health.
Symptoms indicating the presence of parasites in the human body
The penetration of parasites into the human body occurs through natural openings such as the mouth, genitals and anus. Less often, helminths penetrate through the skin, genitourinary system or ears.
The causative agents of the disease can be transmitted with food and water (most of helminths), through bodily contact with an infected person (pinworms), through the soil, by air or dust (roundworm).
Most often, invasive diseases are asymptomatic, showing their presence to me in no way. But with excessive reproduction, signs of various diseases appear, which usually do not indicate the presence of parasites, which significantly complicates the treatment due to the inability to make the correct diagnosis.
However, there are a number of signs by which one can assume that parasites are present in the human body.
- frequent headaches;
- regular joint pain;
- unreasonable muscle pain;
- frequent colds;
- allergic skin rashes;
- difficult bowel movements and constipation;
- teeth grinding during sleep;
- low efficiency, constant fatigue;
- increased nervousness;
- cracked heels;
- shortness of breath;
- disruption of the digestive tract;
- sharp fluctuations in weight;
- fragility of the nail plates;
- itching in the anus.
It should be borne in mind that parasitic diseases can cause serious problems. For example, a large number of helminths can coalesce and cause intestinal obstruction.
Parasites can also cause chronic cell damage, cancer, anemia, or jaundice.
Signs of parasites in children
Symptoms to identify the presence of parasitic organisms in a child:
- violation of the usual diet (lack of appetite, gluttony);
- increase in body temperature;
- allergic rash;
- moodiness, weakness, nervousness;
- dark circles under the eyes;
- pallor of the skin;
- bowel problems (diarrhea with mucus or constipation);
- nausea and vomiting mainly in the morning.
Most parasites are unable to leave the human body on their own. Therefore, if at least one of the above symptoms manifests itself, it is imperative to contact a local therapist or pediatrician, get tested for parasites and undergo treatment for helminths.
Diagnostics of invasive diseases
Diagnosis of invasive diseases involves the detection of parasites (pinworms, amoebas) and their reproductive products (larvae, eggs). A blood test, feces, tissue scraping or sputum test is pre-assigned. To study samples, carry out:
- histological examinations;
- immunological studies;
- blood macroscopy;
- vegetative resonance tests.
Tests for the presence of parasites in children
Before visiting a specialist, parents often wonder what tests need to be done to identify parasites in a child and which method will give a more accurate result. An analysis for invasive diseases in children is prescribed based on the location and type of parasites.
Most often assigned:
- blood test by ELISA;
- serological test;
- scraping or smear by PCR method;
- blood test in adults and children.
A blood test is the most effective type of research and allows you to determine the exact picture of the disease, the type of helminth, as well as the ability to reproduce. It allows you to determine the presence of ascariasis, toxoplasma, cysticercosis, amoebas and lichen.
A type of such a study is an ELISA blood test, which allows you to assess the content of certain antibodies in the plasma, makes it possible to determine the stage of infection, to study the body's immune response to the effects of helminths and allows you to identify specific elements in the blood.
Pros of ELISA research:
- the accuracy of the result, regardless of the qualifications and experience of the laboratory assistant;
- high sensitivity of analysis, up to 90% accuracy;
- allows you to show a complete picture of the disease and the number of parasites;
- parasites are diagnosed at an early stage of development;
- the ability to monitor the dynamics of the disease;
- determination of the presence of toxic products in the blood.
When interpreting the result, the color of the reagent and the intensity of the shade of the sample are taken into account. The ratio of antibodies to parasite antigens is measured by the level of IgM and IgG markers in the blood. A high concentration of IgM and IgG is maintained throughout the entire period of the presence of helminths.
If the blood test shows a high level of IgM, then the disease is acute. IgG antibodies speak of a chronic form of the disease.
Cons of blood tests for the diagnosis of parasitic diseases:
- blood test results by ELISA are obtained within 7 days, while samples of scraping, smear and feces are obtained after 1-2 days;
- research must be carried out in a special laboratory for a fee.
It is recommended to donate blood on an empty stomach, mainly in the first half of the day, it is advisable to exclude taking medications 12-15 hours before blood collection. Parents are advised to prepare their child in advance.
Microscopic analysis of stool may be required for preliminary determination of helminths in the traditional way. During the study, the presence of parasite eggs in a fragment of feces is determined.
The most accurate result is the one shown in 3 tests during the week.
For the most accurate result, a stool fragment must be submitted for examination to a laboratory no later than 45 minutes after a bowel movement.
During the study, parasites such as:
- round helminths.
This type of diagnostics, being quite easy, cannot claim to be 100% accurate. This is due to the fact that parasites living in the human body may not lay eggs for a long period of time.