Saturday, December 03, 2005

Parasites

A few years ago we lived on a street of pig farms (did you know they can sound like dogs howling and barking?) in Kyounggi-do. We got a little sick; some diarrhea and discomfort, so my wife reccommended taking anti-parasite pills.

The pills are well-known in Korea, easy to get (no prescription) and user-friendly - we didn't have to worry about taking before of after a meal, avoiding alcohol or other substances, nor taking a course of pills for days. One pill was sufficient. That makes the anti-parasite pill easier to take than any other in Korea. If you catch a cold here and visit a pharmacist, you will get a package with four different kinds of pills, often with different schedules.

By the way, we soon felt better, but I don't know if we really had parasites or not.

Parasites are back in the news due to contaminated kimchi, domestic and imported.

The news reawakens fears that older Koreans have because parasites were everywhere in the 60's and 70's. Since the early '90s, Korea has been mostly parasite free.

Doctors interviewed regarding the contamiated kimchi are not particularly concerned: Chai Jong-il, parasitology professor at Seoul National University, said, "I would like to cautiously suggest that a few parasite eggs are not worth making a big deal about."

If you are concerned, the Jungang Ilbo suggests:


Prevention of parasites
1. Be careful when eating raw fish and meat, which can be a route for parasite
infection.

2.Wash your hands frequently to avoid pinworms, especially if you have children.

3. Do not let your children share toys with other children in at-risk or dirty areas to avoid pinworm infection.

4. Regularly take your pet to the veterinarian for parasite checkups.

5. Take anthelmintics regularly once or twice a year.

The advice to take ant-helmintics suggest that the main fear is of platyhelminthis, information of which can be found here.

4 comments:

Yankabroad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yankabroad said...

Brian:

When I first came to Korea, I was teaching in a hagwon (I still am, but that is neither here nor there). One of my students, an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor told me never to eat raw squid. He mentioned the inch long parasites he used to routinely pull from the throats of those who did.

By the way, thanks for surfing by and giving me the useful beta on how to keep spammers from posting.

It's working.

skindleshanks said...

NO RAW SQUID??? That's a staple for us Sokchoans! How can we survive!!

However, I don't care for the stuff that's been sitting on the counter all day since breakfast, although i have to admit I have eaten it, in deference to my in-laws.

BTW, what's the name of that over-the-counter anti-parasite medication?

kwandongbrian said...

We just took the pills last nihgt - no reason, just as a cautionary measure but, as with many trips to the pharmasict, they were just big pills, no-name. 400mg in a foil package.