Parasites are a threat to all healthy human beings. They can cause great damage to our well being. These microorganisms can enter our bodies and build an empire within. They are very capable of taking nutrients from our bodies using it for their purposes. The damage they cause has long term implications and can turn fatal if untreated.

If a normal healthy person can fall seriously ill after a parasite infection, just imagine how fragile an elderly citizen will become if he /she undergoes a parasite attack. Caring for elderly people is to be taken very seriously. They have overcome a lot of stress and strain earlier in life. Some of them will have undergone difficulties that new generation kids cannot even imagine facing. Ther physical and mental health will not be the same as a young person. The elderly tend to be more prone to infections as they have low immunity power. Hence it is very important to take good care of them, especially when they are not well.

Parasites invade and find shelter in the abdominal organs mainly. The stomach, intestine and other areas of the digestive tract are most commonly infected. These tiny harmful creatures spread through contaminated water and food. They enter the body when you consume some contaminated food that has parasite eggs on it. These eggs, later on, become the greatest cause of worry as the organisms grow and multiply at a rapid pace.

Why are the elderly more affected?

As we discussed earlier, elder people are more affected by parasite attacks. Speaking generally, they do not have the energy or resistance to fight such infections. Their natural body resistance will be somewhat weak and incapable of overcoming a powerful parasitic invasion. The main source of threat in all such cases is that the symptoms of this infection do not appear immediately. Sometimes they appear only after months of the attack. In other cases, only mild indications will be given out. There may be a slight rise in temperature or abdominal cramps etc. if not given medical attention at the proper time, the symptoms tend to get serious and often fatal.

Elderly people who may show signs of chronic infection only at later stages will find it very difficult to respond to treatment. The cause of any discomfort should be detected and immediate action has to be taken. There is a high risk of severe health disorders if proper medical care is not given.

Which are the Common Types of Parasites seen?

To know the side effects of the parasite invasion, you will have to get an idea of the common kinds of parasites present. Here is a small list of the most notorious trouble makers. This is a list released by WHO and can be treated as reliable information.

  • Cryptosporidium parvum
  • Cyclospora cayetanesis
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Taenia saginata (Seen in beef)
  • Taenia solium (seen in pork )
  • Trichinella spiralis
  • Whipworms
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Giardiasis
  • Pinworm

Symptoms Exhibited by the Infected People

Mild symptoms exhibited during the initial stages are:

  • Body aches and pains
  • Decreased appetite and improper digestion
  • Stomach cramps and abdominal pain.
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Difficulty concentrating and attention problems
  • Increased weakness and fatigue
  • Overall tiredness

The chronic symptoms that appear at later stages are a bit scarier. These include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Breathlessness
  • Internal bleeding
  • Itching in  genital organs
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and panic attacks

If not taken care of properly, elderly people are at a high risk of getting cardiac arrests or strokes. Once you notice any of the above symptoms, mild or chronic, make sure to consult your family doctor for correct guidance.

Effective Treatment for the Elderly

Like for all disease conditions, early detection is the best way of ensuring the complete elimination of parasites. Once you feel that something is not right, do not hesitate to consult a doctor. It is always better to have a false alarm than ignore the symptoms and face severe consequences.

The doctor will surely ask you to do a few tests for the patient. These may include:

  1. A blood test for detecting signs of parasite infection
  2. A colonoscopy and/or endoscopy to examine the internal organs
  3. Stool test to find out if there are eggs or live parasites in the stool.

Once the culprit is identified, medications will be prescribed. Oral medicines are mostly given to elder people. It is the responsibility of the other members at home to remind them to take their medicines as per schedule. According to the experts at Microbe Formulas, health supplements along with proper medication can increase immunity in the aged. Once the symptoms subside, it is not good to discontinue the medication without the doctor’s advice. Always take your loved ones for their follow up examination and make sure that the treatment is successful. If the doctor asks to continue the medication, encourage them to follow his suggestions. The length of the treatment will depend on the intensity of the infection. So for some, it may take longer than expected. Gently persuade your elderly family members to continue with the entire course of treatment. It will enhance their body resistance and keep them healthier.

Methods of Prevention

The methods of prevention to control parasite infection mainly focusses on hygiene and sanitization. Pets are to be taken very good care of, especially cats. Cats can be carriers of parasites as they are the most widely seen hosts. Proper disposal of animal feces is also to be managed effectively. The best way of controlling such epidemics from spreading is to follow the below points:

  • Spreading awareness
  • Hygienic living conditions
  • Proper sanitization
  • Removal of  clutter
  • Effective remedies of garbage disposal
  • Providing safe food and clean water
  • Raising and handling pets under hygienic conditions

There is no reason to panic unnecessarily if you are sure that one of your elderly members has contracted an infection. Upon proper detection, parasite infections can be treated and future occurrences can also be prevented. Healthy food, clean water, daily exercises and lots of fresh air is the key to keeping away most of the dangerous diseases. When it comes to taking care of elderly family members and friends, you should add magic portions of love and companionship as well to keep them happy and active.