Let’s talk about parasites!!

Let’s talk about parasites!!

Guest Post Written By Elysha Ludwig


Let’s talk about parasites!!

Eww I know, but they’re real and I’ve had them not only once but twice!!

The first one was Strongyloides: 
“Strongyloidiasis is a human parasitic disease caused by the nematode (roundworm) called Strongyloides stercoralis. It belongs to a group of nematodes called roundworms.”

How do you get Strongyloides?
▪The worms penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream.

▪The worms then move through your bloodstream and pass through the right side of your heart and into the lungs.

▪The parasites travel from the lungs up the windpipe and into your mouth.

▪You unknowingly swallow the worms, and they travel into your stomach.

▪The worms move into your small intestine where they lay eggs that hatch and become larvae.

▪The larvae go from your body in your feces.

▪The larvae can infect your body by penetrating the skin around your anus, or they can develop into mature worms and infect someone else.

▪They can also live and reproduce in the soil without a host

Rarely, the worms can penetrate the intestine of the host as larvae rather than pass out of the body through the feces.

The crazy thing with Strongyloides is they can lay dormant for years and you have no idea! That’s unfortunately what happened with me.

I went to Haiti in 2010, lived there in 2012 , got sick in 2014 and was diagnosed/treated in 2015. So we really don’t know when I got them.

When I lived in Haiti I was always careful of what I ate and drank. I didn’t even think of what I was wearing (or not wearing) I walked barefoot everywhere. I lived there, I was trying to be comfortable.


The other parasite I got was right here in my own state!!

What is Cryptosporidium?
Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as “Crypto.”

How do you get Crypto?
There are many species of Cryptosporidium that infect animals, some of which also infect humans. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very tolerant to chlorine disinfection.

While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common way to spread the parasite. Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the US.

This one I got from a pool!! A POOL! This time last year there was an outbreak of Crypto in the county I live in. I had to do surveys for the county and state to help narrow down where the outbreak started.

Because I’ve had one parasite I have a higher chance of getting more. Fighting the second one was hard. What should’ve been a two day treatment took me two weeks inpatient at the hospital. I was there a total of four weeks.

A year after being diagnosed/treated with  Cryptosporidium and two years after being diagnosed/treated with Strongyloides I am parasite free but now dealing with the aftermath.

Most of my doctors feel that my GI and other issues stem from having gone undiagnosed for so long. Who would’ve thought a little worm could do so much damage?


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