6 Common Parasites And How To Prevent Them

Parasites are organisms that thrive on feeding off animals and people. There are many different types of parasites affecting humans and creatures alike, but this article focuses on some of the most common ones. 

Here are parasites you may encounter if you’re not careful as well as a few simple yet effective ways you can steer clear of them:

1. Lice

Lice are tiny insects that feed on human and animal blood. They spread by crawling from one person or animal to another. There are three common types of lice: body lice, head lice, and pubic lice. Of the three, head lice are disease-causing, while the other two will just suck your blood and cause uncomfortable itching.

As suggested by their names, head lice normally target the head, while body lice roam around your body. And yes, pubic lice target the pubic areas. Since human lice are different from dog and cat lice, being in close contact with a person infested with lice could lead you to catch them. However, you can’t get lice from your pets and vice versa.

How To Prevent Lice

The easiest way to prevent lice is by practicing good hygiene. Using shampoos and other over-the-counter medicines could also help reduce the biting and itching. If you own pets, you have to keep them clean to avoid lice attacks. Other ways of preventing lice are as follows:

  • Avoid head-to-head contact.
  • Avoid sharing clothes.
  • Don’t share combs, hairbrushes, and towels.
  • Regularly vacuum your home.

2. Fleas

Fleas are common parasites that feed on blood. Like lice, they’re common on animals like cats and dogs. The fur in animals provides the perfect habitat for fleas, but they can also be a nuisance to humans. Unlike lice that only crawl, fleas can spring from one victim to another. They say lice can only live for one day without a host, but fleas can go up to 100 days. 

The most common flea species in America is said to be the cat flea. Although they normally attack cats, they could affect humans too. Their bites on humans usually leave red, itchy spots that are clustered in threes. The bites may also cause hives, rash, or swelling around the bite area.

How To Prevent Fleas 

To prevent fleas from infecting you, you could try the following:

  • Keep your pet clean and hygienic.
  • Limit your pet’s outdoor time.
  • Bathe your pet frequently.
  • Inspect and examine your pets for fleas regularly.
  • Take measures like putting a check it out here on your cats.

3. Bedbugs

Bedbugs are small, flat insects that love to live with people and pets. They find furniture, mattresses, and wallpaper cozy as hiding and nesting spots. These repulsive parasites typically come out and feed while you’re asleep at night. They feast on human and animal blood.

Bedbugs normally don’t cause or carry disease, but they can lead to unpleasant irritations like itchiness and allergic reactions when they bite.

How To Prevent Bedbugs

These are a few easy ways to prevent bedbugs:

  • Check any secondhand furniture for any signs of infestation.
  • Use protective bedcovers to reduce the chance of mattress infestation.
  • Avoid clutter in your home to reduce possible hiding places.
  • Vacuum your home every now and then.
  • Always be vigilant when you check into hotels or sleep in new places. Bedbugs are great hitchhikers.

4. Mites

Scabies is caused by a mite that bites and lays eggs into your skin. The scabies parasite is transmitted through skin contact with an infected person. It commonly causes itching at night, crusty patches on the skin, rash, and skin sores. Scabies can be treated with scabicide, a prescription medication.

How To Prevent Scabies

Scabies is said to also be a result of poor personal hygiene, so the best way to avoid it is by practicing cleanliness. You can try these tips as well:

  • Avoid skin contact with infected people.
  • Avoid wearing clothes belonging to an infected person.
  • Do your laundry on time.
  • Regularly change your bedding.

5. Pork Tapeworms

These are parasites found in pigs and people. If you eat raw or undercooked pork, you risk ingesting this pesky parasite. Pork tapeworms are said to mainly infect the intestines and the brain. They normally lay eggs that can be transmitted to others through feces and or ingestion of uncooked meat.

Tapeworms can feed on the food you eat, thereby stealing some of the nutrients you’re meant to benefit from it. These parasites can also cause massive headaches and seizures when they infect the brain. They can be treated through medication in some cases, but your body usually resolves the infestation on its own. In worst-case scenarios, surgery might be required to get rid of them. 

How To Prevent Tapeworms

The best way to prevent pork tapeworms is by cooking or freezing meat to kill the parasite’s eggs. Here are a few tips on keeping safe:

  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat.
  • Freeze meat for at least a week in the freezer before cooking it.
  • Freeze fish for at least a day before cooking it.
  • Practice good hygiene.

6. Roundworms

Roundworms are small parasites that like to live in the digestive system of humans and animals. They thrive in areas with poor hygiene and sanitation. There are many different types of roundworms, but the common ones that infect humans are pinworms and ascariasis.

Roundworms can be harmful, causing problems like fever and diarrhea. They require a body to live in so they can mature into egg-laying adults. When they lay eggs in your body, the eggs are said to live in the stool, so when you poop, the eggs can end up in the soil, where they pose a risk of infecting other people or animals.

How To Prevent Roundworms

Although there are many types of roundworms, you can prevent them by doing the following:

  • Clean up your pet poop.
  • Take your pet to the vet for deworming.
  • Make sure your children don’t ingest soil or play near poop.
  • Exercise proper hygiene such as handwashing.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  • Avoid eating raw meat.
  • In areas with poor sanitation, drink only bottled water.

To Sum It Up

Parasites are organisms that cause many different problems for their hosts, including discomfort and diseases. As mentioned, the best way to prevent parasitic infection is by practicing good personal hygiene. If you have pets around the house, see to it that they’re always clean and well groomed. Use things like DEWELPRO and other similar products to keep parasites at bay.

Emma Thompson

Hi, I'm Emma Thompson. Welcome to The Pet Town! I'm a Pet lovers like you and please feel free to get in touch with any questions. Enjoy your stay!

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