what is a parasite

What is a Parasite?

A parasite is an organism that lives off of another organism for some or all of its life cycle. Parasites can be either protozoa or helminths, and can be found in a variety of habitats around the world. Parasites take their nutrients from the host organism, and can cause serious health problems if not dealt with properly.

Types of Parasites

  • Protozoa: Protozoa are single-celled organisms that live inside a host organism’s cells. Types of protozoa include Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Trichomonas.
  • Helminths: Helminths are larger parasites that typically live in the intestines. Types of helminths include roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and flukes.

Transmission of Parasites

Parasites can be transmitted in many ways, including:

  • Contaminated food and water: Eating contaminated food or water can cause parasites to enter your body.
  • Insects: Mosquitos, flies, and other insects can transmit parasites from one person to another.
  • Animal contact: Coming in contact with an infected animal can cause parasites to enter your body.

Symptoms of Parasites

The symptoms of parasites can vary greatly, depending on the type and severity of the parasite. Common symptoms of parasites include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

Treatment of Parasites

If you suspect that you have a parasite, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for parasites often includes:

  • Antiparasitic medications: Your doctor may prescribe medication to kill the parasites in your body.
  • Dietary adjustments: To help reduce the symptoms associated with a parasite, your doctor may suggest avoiding certain foods or drinks.
  • Supportive care: Your doctor may suggest treatment to support your body while it is fighting off the parasite.

Preventing Parasites

There are a few easy steps you can take to help prevent parasites:

  • Wash your hands: Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, before eating, and after coming into contact with animals.
  • Practice safe food preparation: Be sure to fully cook your food, and avoid eating raw or undercooked meats.
  • Avoid contaminated water: Avoid swimming in or drinking water from lakes, rivers, or ponds.


  • Parasite
  • Protozoa
  • Helminths
  • Transmission
  • Symptoms
  • Treatment
  • Prevention
See also  dog parasites