We often think about parasitic infections affecting only those who live in undeveloped or third world countries, but many common parasites infect the general U.S. population. Parasites affect humans in various way, but the most common are intestinal parasitic infections that can be easily transmitted through other humans, pets, meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Transmission of such infections is often caused by ingesting microscopic parasite eggs that can be found on many surfaces and can even be carried by the oxygen we breathe. The most common parasite that humans can easily contract are intestinal worms, and they can have various effects on the body as they hold our intestines as hosts. Luckily, there are several medications available to treat these parasites, including metronidazole.
Common Types of Parasitic Infections
Hookworms are transmitted through contaminated water, fruits and vegetables. This particular parasite attaches itself to the intestines and feeds on blood supply that can lead to anemia. Some of the most common symptoms of this parasitic infection include: weakness, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
Roundworms can infect humans by ingestion of the egg, and are by far the largest of intestinal parasites growing up to 13 inches long. These worms are able to grow by attaching themselves to the intestinal wall and can easily migrate to the human lungs cause swelling of internal organs such as liver, spleen, heart and lungs. People who are infected with roundworms usually do not feel any symptoms, but those who have more advanced stages of this parasitic infection often experience fever, weakness, coughing, pneumonia, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Tapeworms are generally contracted by ingesting infected blood of animals and develop in the human body by attaching itself to the intestinal wall. This particular parasite can survive in the human body for up to 25 years, and can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, convulsions, weight loss and loss of appetite.
Flatworm blood flukes infect the body by penetrating the skin of humans who step into contaminated water, and can severe inflammation of vital organs such as the liver. This particular parasite can remain in the human body for long periods of time without any symptoms. Patients with complications related to flatworm blood flukes may experience fever, aching, coughing, diarrhea and swollen glands.
Treatment for Parasitic Infections
The most common way to treat most parasitic infections is through prescription antibiotics like Flagyl or metronidazole (generic), which helps stop the spread of bacteria from growing in the human body. Available in tablet form, the average cost for a bottle of Flagyl 500mg is around $150, and may vary depending on pharmacy location. Patients who are prescribed Flagyl should take it on an empty stomach, or 1 hour before lunch or 2 hours before eating a meal. Antibiotics like Flagyl should not be taken with alcohol, and patients should wait at least 3 days after finishing treatment before drinking. Metronidazole, the generic form of Flagyl, is available for an affordable price at around $20 for a bottle of 30 tablets.
It is important to note that not all parasitic infections have physical symptoms, and the best way to determine if you have an infection is through medical testing. Patients can be diagnosed through various lab tests that include fecal exams, colonoscopy, blood testing, and in some extreme cases, an MRI scan. For more information about infections and antibiotics visit our Infections Condition Page.