Each year, there are millions of cases of intestinal parasites in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the elderly are more at risk for getting them than most of the general population. This is because the immune system weakens as we get older. Here are some prevention tips for intestinal parasites.

  • Be careful when handling pets: As cute and fun as they are, pets can carry parasites. Be sure to wash your hands after petting or handling an animal. Also, be sure to wash your hands after dealing with pet feces as well. Experts recommend cleaning out a cat’s litterbox daily to curb parasite growth.
  • Make sure your water source is safe: Contaminated water is one of the easiest ways to get parasites.
  • Practice food safety: Undercooked food is another major way to get parasites. Eating unwashed fruits and vegetables also presents risks.
  • Poor hygiene: You can come in contact with parasites anywhere, proper hand washing and hygiene cut down on the risk of them getting into your body.

Typical symptoms of intestinal parasites include unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain/tenderness, fatigue, gas, bloating, and stomach upsets. If you have unexplained digestive issues, ask your doctor about the possibility of parasites.

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