Infections And Infestations - part 3

Anti-protozoal medicaments

Protozoa are microorganisms which have a solitary cell and are generally found in the soil. However, this microorganism has the aptitude to infect animals and also pass on to humans or transmit from one human to another by several means - using polluted water and food; insect bites; and even sexual contacts. Protozoal infections may be of various different types - each one of them leading to a dissimilar disease, subject to the microorganism concerned.

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The most widespread infections caused by protozoa probably include giardiasis, penumocystis pneumonia, and trichomoniasis. Several forms of protozoa also cause bowel infections leading to diarrhea as well as common symptoms of poor health.

There are other types of this microorganism that infect the skin or the genital tract. A number of protozoa may enter the crucial organs like the brain, lungs and the liver.

In such cases, it is important to diagnose the problem and start treatment immediately with a view to restrict the infection from spreading inside the body as well as being transmitted to other people. In several instances, enhanced awareness regarding hygiene is a vital factor in checking the disease from spreading.

Normally, a wide range of medicines are employed for treating the diseases mentioned above. Some of them, for instance, tetracycline and metronidazole, have anti-bacterial actions and are also utilized to treat protozoal infections. Medications like iodoquinol are used rarely; barring in the instances of particular protozoal infections.

It is often very difficult to get the body rid of protozoa. Therefore, people who have been infected by this single-cell microorganism may require continuing treatment with anti-protozoal drugs for a prolonged period of time to eliminate protozoa completely, thereby, ensure that the infection or disease does not recur.

Moreover, often it is not possible to evade the adverse side effects, for instance, diarrhea, nausea and cramps in the abdomen, as there are very few anti-protozoal medications to choose from. Therefore, it is important that you ensure that you are always taking the right dose of the medications, as it is the only way to cure the infections effectively.

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Anti-malarial medicaments

Among all the contagious ailments that cause miseries to us, malaria is the one that results in further illness and also more deaths all over the world. Protozoa, a single-cell microorganism whose life cycle is very complex, is responsible for causing malaria.

The parasite that causes this infectious disease is called malaria plasmodium and it inhabits and is helpless without the female anopheles mosquito at one stage of its existence. During the remaining part of its life cycle, this parasite inhabits and also relies on humans.

As the female anopheles mosquito stings the skin, it transfers its saliva into the human body. Subsequently, the malaria plasmodium gets into the bloodstream and finally establishes itself inside the liver. While the victim does not show any visible symptoms of malaria at this stage, the parasite continues to multiply inside the liver, asexually.

After staying in the liver for some time, another phase in the life cycle of the malaria parasite begins - it starts moving in the bloodstream, entering and, at the same time, devastating the erythrocytes (red blood cells).

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All the while the parasite keeps multiplying asexually producing its male as well as female varieties in the bloodstream. In case the sexual forms of the parasite are transferred to the female anopheles mosquito back when it bites the affected individual again, they are able to breed sexually, and again get ready to infect humans.

The typical symptoms associated with malaria become obvious only when the parasite has emerged from the liver and enter the bloodstream to destroy the red blood cells. The common symptoms of malaria include high fever and copious sweating that alternates with extremely unbearable occurrences of shivering and colds.

The malaria plasmodium has four strains and just one of these is able to cause extremely serious attacks, which may prove to be fatal if not treated timely and properly. There are other malarial forms that lead to repeated attacks, which may sometimes even have a span of several years.

Nearly all anti-malarial medicines work by quickly eliminating the plasmodium present in the bloodstream. These medications are normally taken in the form of a suppressive and destroy the plasmodium even before they are able to get into the liver, thereby checking their multiplication.

If the plasmodium has already propagated rapidly inside the liver, large doses of the same medication are given to destroy the parasites that go into the bloodstream again.

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When anti-malarial medicaments are taken in small doses to hold back the disease, they seldom cause any visible side effects. When the medications are used to treat a malarial attack, they normally start providing relief from the symptoms in one or two hours.

Majority of these medications may result in some minor side effects like vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. If you are using quinine to treat a malarial attack, it may lead to serious, unpleasant side effects, including dizziness, sounds inside the ears, and even hearing and vision disturbances.

When anti-malarial medicines are prescribed to restrain or cure the disease, it is essential to take the complete course of the medication. You should know that there is no medication that offers a permanent protection or even immunity for a prolonged period.

Since there is no medicine which is effective against all forms of malaria, it may be necessary to change your medication when you are moving from one malaria infested area to a new one where a dissimilar type of malaria may be widespread.

While majority of the anti-malarial drugs that have been discussed here do not cause serious side effects, using primaquine may possibly result in haemolytic anemia, a problem related to blood, especially in individuals having a deficiency in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (also called G6PD). Therefore, it is essential to have the blood of the patients to identify the persons facing this risk before this medication is prescribed.

Anti-fungal medicaments

All of us constantly come in contact with fungi - they are present in the air we inhale, the foods we consume, and even the water we all drink.

However, we are fortunate that majority of fungi are not able to inhabit our body, while only some of them are detrimental for our health. Nevertheless, a number of fungi have the aptitude to grow inside our mouth, in our skin, nails, or hair resulting in nuisance or unpleasant changes.

Some fungi are also able to lead to severe and probably fatal ailments. The widespread fungal contagions are attributable to the infections belonging to the tinea group, which include tinea pedis (also called athlete's foot); tinea capitis (also known as scalp ringworm); and tinea cruris (also called jock itch).

These infections are caused by a range of microbes and may possibly be spread through getting in direct or indirect touch with animals or humans who have already been infected. Moist and warm conditions encourage such infections.

We may have problems even when the fungus normally inhabiting our body multiplies. The most common instance of this is very rapid and extreme growth of Candida, a type of yeast that is responsible for thrush infection, which occurs in the mouth, bowel and also the vagina. Infections by Candida may also occur in different additional organs provided it spreads all over the body moving in the bloodstream.

Certain conditions, including diabetes, disorders related to the immune system, pregnancy, treatment using antibiotics, taking birth control pills and even AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) are likely to stimulate the excessive growth of Candida.

Superficial infections by fungi, those that invade only the skin's external strata as well as the mucous membranes, are comparatively more widespread. While they cause irritation, they generally do not pose any risk to our general health.

On the other hand, internal infections by fungi, for instance, contagions of the heart, lungs and other organs, are usually rare, but when they occur, they may be severe and last for a prolonged period.

Since the use of antibiotics as well as other medications that are anti-bacterial does not have any consequence either on fungi or yeasts, they need to be treated using different types of medicaments.

Medications that are used to treat fungal infections may be applied externally to cure minor contagions related to the skin as well as the mucous membranes, or taken orally or administered in the form of injections to destroy severe infections by fungi in our internal organs and even the nails.

Nearly all the antifungal medications change the penetrability of the walls of the fungal cells. As a result of this, the chemical substances that are essential for the survival of the cells get out and eventually the cell dies.

Usually, the antifungal medications work with great speed to alleviate the symptoms of the diseases. However, the speed differs depending on the form of infection. In fact, thrush as well as other infections caused by fungi and yeasts in the mouth, skin and vagina are cured just with a use of starting treatment with these medications.

Fungal infections in the nails, however, are cured only with the growth of new nails, and this may usually take several months. On the other hand, it may take a few weeks' time to cure the systemic infections in the internal organs.

When the antifungal medications are applied externally they seldom cause side effects. However, they may possibly cause skin irritations. Contrarily, when the treatment involves taking the medications orally, especially for nail and systemic infections, they may possibly result in more severe side effects.

Amphotericin B, which is injected to treat critical systemic infections, usually leads to horrible as well as potentially unsafe side effects, for instance development of a serious fever which needs to be treated using additional medications.

Since amphotericin B is also likely to result in kidney damage, the patients require undergoing blood tests on a regular basis. Another antifungal medicament called griseofulvin, which is prescribed for treating chronic infections of the nails, may possibly harm the liver.

This is the main reason why the medication is recommended only when all topical medications fail to yield the desired results and the damage caused to the nails is critical.

Anthelmintic medicaments

Anthelmintic medications are employed to get rid of several kinds of worms (also called helminths), which may get into the body and survive in the form of parasites, resulting in an overall debility in some instances, and severe impairment in other cases.

It is possible for our body to accommodate various different types of worms. Majority of these worm species live inside other animals for some time, and often the plague is transmitted to humans through foods that are infected with their eggs or larvae.

A number of larvae, for instance, that of hookworms, get into the human body by means of the pores in the skin. In addition, the larvae or even the adult worms may bind themselves to the walls of the intestine and survive on the contents of the bowel.

There are other worms or larvae that nourish by soaking up the blood supplied to the intestines, thereby resulting in anemia. Some worms are also able to plague the bloodstream or inhabit the muscles and organs.

Most people host worms inside them at some or the other period in their life, particularly during their childhood. However, it is possible to get rid of nearly all these worms undergoing treatment with anthelmintic medications.

There are many mechanisms by which the anthelmintic medications work. Several of these drugs either paralyze or destroy the worms, which are excreted in the form of feces. There are other anthelmintic medications that work systemically and are employed for treating tissue infections.

Then again, several of these drugs are meant for specific worms and before using any of them it is essential for the physician to identify the worms. It is normally easy to treat the most frequent intestinal infestations, usually using just a couple of doses of anthelmintics. Nevertheless, infections of the tissues are likely to necessitate a long-term treatment with anthelmintic medicaments.

When the body has gotten rid of the worms using anthelmintic medications, even the symptoms of the infestations disappear very soon. When taken only in a solitary dose or used for a brief period, anthelmintic medicaments generally do not cause any unpleasant side effects. However, therapy with these medications may possibly interrupt the digestive system, resulting in nausea, pain in the abdominal region and even vomiting.

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