Worming into your life: Part 1

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The subject of worms, and the possibility of them affecting your life (or rather, infecting your body), sends shudders up many a spine. Worms or parasites and other opportunistic creepy crawlers like to take a free ride on any host that happens along their path. Mostly that entails rodents or wild animals, but when a human comes along, well, hey — why not? It’s a free meal. A parasite is an organism that lives on another organism — animal, fish, bird, human — anything with blood (referred to as a host), and benefits by sucking the nutrients out for their own benefit, but at the expense of the host. In a derogatory meaning, it is someone who exploits others, relying on them to support them, but gives nothing in return. We may well know of a person who could be considered in this light. In the world of parasites, this is also true.

Bed bugs, ticks, mosquitos and flies are all insects that can transmit diseases — mostly parasitic. That doesn’t mean that if you are bitten that you will get a parasite — it has to be a carrier, and not all are carriers. Cleanliness is essential for keeping bed bugs under control. Once present, they can be so difficult to get rid of, that the linens simply have to be thrown away. Using insect repellents when outdoors will help with the other guys. Keep away from brush in the wild — a favorite hide-out for ticks. They literally hang out on leaves and grasses — hind legs holding to the leaf or blade and forelegs stretched out in the air just looking for a host to brush by, then hopping on board. Stick to groomed trails when possible.

Are you a dog or cat lover? I know for years I heard that dog saliva was sterile. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Those loving dog “kisses” can be a vector for transmitting a variety of parasites. Think about it. Dogs, cats and other animals lick their butts. If they are a host for parasites, they will do it more often. They lick their butt, then they lick you! I think I just lost my appetite! Their fleas can also be a vector for spreading parasites. Be careful when you clean up after them. Feces can be full of visible and non-visible parasites, bacteria and other organisms. It is best to wear a mask and gloves when cleaning a cat litter box. That also applies to cleaning up chicken manure. Many parasites are transmitted by inhalation of contaminated dust or air.

Air — so essential to life — how could that be? Water too. But I’m saving that, as well as the remedies for Part II of Worming into Your Life.

Learn more by attending our upcoming health class, Parasites? Signs, Symptoms & Solutions, 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 24 at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene. Fee: $10. RSVP: (208) 765-1994.

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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles.

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