What is a parasite?
Before you go self-diagnosing a parasite, it’s important to understand what they are. “A parasite is an organism that lives on or in a host organism and gets its food from or at the expense of its host,” according to the CDC. There are three classes of parasites: protozoa, which are tiny, one-celled organisms that typically live in the intestines, blood, or tissue; helminths, which are parasitic worms such as tapeworms, roundworms, and thorny-headed worms; and ectoparasites, which are ticks, fleas, lice, and mites that attach or burrow into the skin. Parasites can cause disease and even death, but fortunately, if caught early, the infections can usually be treated with medication. Here are some signs that you could be hosting one of these tiny invaders.