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All About Parasites

There are plenty of examples in the world that one could use as mighty fine reasons why intelligent design is a load of bunk. Your appendix, mosquitoes, Honey Boo Boo. Then there are parasites. I can't think of a good reason to create these paragons of ickiness except to give us just one more reason to look up gross things on the Internet to say ew about and make our skin crawl. There are some great ones in the animal kingdom that are just too bat shit crazy for words.

An unsuspecting grasshopper could drink some bad water and get himself infected with a horsehair worm which will begin to busily grow inside him (up to a foot long!) until the worm decides he wants out. But he needs to live in water and since grasshoppers aren't fond of swimming the worm simply takes control of the grasshopper's brain, marches him to the nearest body of water, compels him to commit a horrible watery suicide and then casually slithers out of his ass.
For real. Out of his ass.

The Leocochloridium Paradoxum gets ingested by a snail merrily eating it's favorite snack of bird poop. But this parasite doesn't want to be in a snail. For reasons known only to the parasite, it would prefer to be in a bird. But how does it make that happen you ask? Well it just crawls on up to the snail's eye stalks and turns them into two giant green pulsating come hither caterpillar-like morsels of irresistible scrumptiousness. It then takes over the unwitting snail and makes it wave it's newly acquired suicide eyeballs about in the open for all the birds to see. Once the parasite is happily inside it's new birdie host, it is free to live it's happy parasite life and have babies that the bird will poop out thus starting the whole horrifying cycle all over again.

Come and eat me baby. You know you wanna.
The Cymothoa Exigua has a thing for red snapper. This parasite will surreptitiously crawl into the snapper's gills and latch itself onto the fish's tongue. It then feeds on yummy tongue blood until the tongue atrophies and falls off. But don't feel sorry for the fish because the parasite then attaches itself to the stump and actually becomes it's new tongue for the rest of it's life. Okay scratch that. Feel very sorry for the snapper. Gross.

And just because I said so, you will now think of this picture the next time you are French kissing your sweetie.
Just to make your skin crawl even more than it is already, there are of course parasites that infect humans as well. I had a parasite once. It's true. Lived inside of me for nine months. Then I gave birth to it, named it and am still feeding it eleven years later. But it was cute so I decided to keep it.

The Dermatobia Hominis, otherwise known as the Human Botfly is a thing of nightmares as it likes to routinely infest humans with it's larvae. A mosquito will land on you carrying botfly eggs which will then embed themselves into your skin and, gulp, start feeding on you. If this happens to you, you need to first suffocate the larvae by covering up it's airhole in your skin, wait A WHOLE FUCKING DAY for it to die and then squeeze the fat, slimy carcass out sort of like popping a zit from hell. Go ahead and search for "botfly removal" on YouTube. I double dog dare you. You have been warned.

Gives new meaning to the term "brain worm"

There are a host of several worms that can infect humans as well including the tapeworm which one generally gets by ingesting food, water or soil contaminated with human or animal feces. It is not as prevalent as people may think with only a few hundred human cases having ever been reported. Other worms include roundworms, pinworms and hookworms.

Protozoan organisms are the really scary ones that include parasites such as malaria, toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidium, and giardiasis. These are the microscopic organisms that affect things like your intestines, brain, eyes, heart, liver and even red blood cells. Folks usually get these nasties by swimming in or drinking infected water, eating infected foods or getting bitten by infected bugs.

And we can't forget the always popular ectoparasites (which live outside the host as opposed to endoparasites which live on the inside, clearly). If you have a kid then you have no doubt had to deal with lice at least once. I can tell you that the first time you see one of those repugnant critters skittering through your kid's hair, you want to 1) scream like a terrified little girl and 2) take a shower in turpentine for a week. Bedbugs, scabies and fleas are also ectoparasites that I'm assuming you would all prefer to avoid.

Go ahead. Scream like a little girl. I won't tell anyone.
So now you are asking yourself why I have dragged you through this loathsome journey that has undoubtedly made you feel like there was something crawling on your skin at least once. WTF does this have to do with skepticism Tamara? Well, it has to do with a flyer I picked up from a local health food store urging me to get a parasite cleanse. There are woo proponents that suggest that this is what we all need because "90% of people in the world are or have been infected with parasites!" Now I suppose this number is believable if you count every person who has ever had lice, been bitten by a tick, and had malaria. But they talk like we are all walking around carrying a host of worms around in our guts and they are all having keg parties in there without us even knowing it. Although first world folks are not immune to parasites by a long shot, the major prevalence is in third world countries where sanitation and hygiene are lacking. And even though it is true that some cases of intestinal worms may by asymptomatic, you will for the most part be very aware that there is something wrong with you. It is at this point that you go to your doctor instead of searching for "parasites" on the Internet. Trust me, I have been doing just that for the last couple of hours and all I seem to find are websites selling the "Parasite Cleanse". They use fear mongering tactics like the 90% figure and have loads of information about what sorts of parasites exist and how we get them. They twist the truth around so they can sell you a bottle of pills that will "cleanse" you of the parasites that you are unaware that you undoubtedly have.

These pills seem to mainly consist of bunches of ground up herbs, seeds and other various ingredients that users are instructed to take for 15 days. The bottom line is that if you are feeling like crap, go see your doctor. If you think you have parasites, ask your doctor. Don't just go blowing your hard earned cash on a bottle of pills because the snake oil salesmen tell you that you are a walking parasite factory. Chances are pretty darn good that you are 100% bloodsucker free. Unless your ex is still in the picture. You need a whole different kind of pill to deal with that.

If I had this shit going on in my guts, I wouldn't be trusting no bottle of "parasite cleanse"


Eve said…
Gross, but true! And I bet that they neglect to tell you about all the little organisms and bacteria that are actually supposed to be living inside you in a happy symbiotic state! But hey, let's kill off everything......that is if the woo works (which I highly doubt).
That scarred me for life Tamara.

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