Meet the creepy crawlies that call your body ‘home’

Shower all you like, but these creepy crawlies are here to stay.

Meet the creepy crawlies that call your body ‘home’

Your body is host to all manner of creepy crawlies that make up a delicate ecosystem that helps to fight infection, bad bacteria and other nasties. Many of these microscopic creatures are harmless, even helpful, and disrupting the balance can lead to other health issues. Others you’ll want to get rid of right away. So, without further delay, let’s meet our guests, shall we?

Ringworm

Contrary to the name, ringworm is not actually a worm. It’s a type of fungus that can live on almost any part of your body. It looks like a scaly, red patch of skin and, if found on your head, can cause hair loss. It also goes by the name of athlete’s foot or jock itch and can be treated with antifungal creams, sprays, powders or pills.

Hookworm

Not super common but prevalent nonetheless, especially for anyone who’s travelled to parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Hookworm enters the skin if you step barefoot on ground with infected faeces, moving to your gut where it is mostly harmless, but can cause coughing, wheezing or stomach pain. It can go away without treatment, but if you think you have it, see your doctor.

Tapeworm

Found in infected beef, pork or fish, tapeworms can grow up to 10m long inside your intestines, causing diarrhoea, cramps and weight loss. If you have one, you may see tiny eggs or pieces of the worm in your stool. This is not one of those beneficial creepy crawlies – they’re quite nasty – and, unless treated, can lead to brain cysts causing headaches, seizures and confusion.

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