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Have you picked up a parasite? – part two

Written by Emma Lane

In the first part of this article, I discussed how parasite infections are underdiagnosed and looked at some of the signs of a parasite infection, and in the second part, I will explain how we can become infected and why. 

Why do we become infected?

There are many aspects of our environment and lifestyle that can influence the likelihood of infection. These include:

• Poor lifestyle choices, such as insufficient sleep

• Poor digestion – low HCL levels (Hypochlorhydria), not creating an effective cephalic response when eating, not chewing food enough, constipation

• Excessive poor nutrition and/or inadequate good nutrition leading to insufficient nutritional support for good physiological function and health

• Stress that is unmanaged and therefore creates a chronic ongoing physiological load

• Immune insufficiency

• Poor protective mechanisms e.g. Hypochlorhydria, poor digestion, immune insufficiency, etc

• All of the above will create poor health and therefore reduce the body’s natural protection from bugs

How do we become infected?

As previously discussed, parasites are not just found in developing countries, in fact, there are some factors prevalent in the UK, Europe and America that could be behind the rise in parasite infections. 

For example, commercial or intense farming practices can lead to poor quality food with low nutrient value and a higher risk of carrying parasite larvae and eggs because of the lower vitality and health of the farmed animals and plants. 

The prevalent use of certain medications that generally lowers overall vitality of the body is another issue. Poor pet health is another factor. Pets can harbour intestinal parasites, such as the various types of worms that can live in the pet’s intestinal tract. Roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and tapeworms, as well as some protozoa parasites like Giardia, are not uncommon in household pets. Parasite eggs or spores are often inadvertently ingested in contaminated soil, water, faeces or food. In the case of tapeworms, they can be transmitted to dogs and cats by ingesting a flea.

Other routes to infection include poor personal hygiene, such as not washing hands after using the toilet, but also handling money, shaking hands and then handling food or putting your hands in your mouth. 

It is also easy to ingest infected water, whether it is from a tap, lake, stream or even the local swimming pool.

Of course, international travel is also a common way to pick up some unwanted ‘hitchhikers’; water, ice cubes, food, other people or eating in a restaurant with poor hygiene standards can all lead to parasite transmission.


The faecal-oral route is the most common form of parasite transmission, and poor personal hygiene is the main problem. For example, imagine you are eating out at your favourite restaurant, you order a chicken salad, in the kitchen the person that preps the food went to the toilet and did not wash their hands, and they have tiny amounts of faeces on their hands and under the nails. That faeces contains parasite larvae and eggs. They proceed to mix your salad up and out it goes to your table. This probably happens more frequently than any of us would like to consider, whether it be at home or eating out. People often forget to wash their hands, just watch next time when you use a public bathroom!

While of course, this does not guarantee that you are going to get a parasite infection, it does mean the potential is there, and it depends on your level of health and vitality, especially your digestive tract health and function and your immune response. If your vitality level is low your potential to experience a parasite infection increases substantially. The protective mechanism that should naturally defend you is under par; the bugs will easily get in and be able to set up a happy home for themselves. 

So what’s the take-home lesson?

Prioritise and look after your own health to reduce the risk of a  parasite taking the opportunity to hang out in a warm, moist environment where there is a regular supply of food to eat; we make great homes, but unfortunately, these guests may not be the most considerate towards you while they live off you. Therefore, make it hard for them to hang out in you by taking care of your health and being aware of increased risk factors such as poor quality food, high risk infected food, undercooked fish and meat, poor personal hygiene and poor digestive processes.

If you suspect that you have a parasite problem, don’t keep suffering, get tested! ( and be guided by professional who have extensive experience in dealing with these critters. 

PCI Europe enables those living in Europe to utilise the world’s most advanced, consistent and well-researched laboratory, the PCI, Arizona, led by world-renowned parasitologist Dr Omar Amin, for the detection and treatment of parasitic infections.