Tungiasis – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Thursday, July 26, 2018 by

Tungiasis is a skin infestation with the burrowing flea Tunga penetrans or its related species. These fleas often target the feet, particularly the toes, sole, lateral rim, and heel, where it causes lesions that look like a white patch with a black dot in the center.

The flea is commonly known in different names, including chigoe flea, jigger, nigua, pico, sand flea, and bicho de pie – bug of the foot.

The Tunga flea is native to the West Indies and Carribean region but has spread to Africa, India, Pakistan, and Latin America. The fleas like to thrive in the warm, dry soil and sand of beaches, stables, and stock farms. In most cases, tungiasis will heal on its own as the burrowed flea will die within two weeks and will naturally slough off as the skin sheds. As it feeds on the host’s blood over the first to second week, the flea will lay more than 100 eggs that fall to the ground through the opening of the lesion.

Known side effects of tungiasis

The known symptoms of tungiasis include the formation of yellow or brown bumps with a black spot in the center, severe itching and rash formation around the lesions, inflammation, and swelling around lesions. In some cases, an extensive infection can result in necrosis or the death of skin tissue. Other side effects include itchiness, pain, blisters, ulcers, swelling, loss of toenails, deformation of toes, and an auto-amputation of toes. The infection can lead to other complications, such as viral and bacterial superinfections, severe tungiasis o the lower part of the body, making it difficult to walk due to severe pain, and acute inflammation and death of nearby tissue in some cases.

Body systems harmed by tungiasis

The body systems damaged by tungiasis are the integumentary and the immune systems.

List of foods or nutrients that prevent tungiasis

There is little information on what foods or nutrients exactly prevent tungiasis, but there are natural ingredients that can be used as flea repellent in general. Eating a lot of garlic can repel fleas. Other natural ingredients that can prevent fleas from biting you include lemons, lavender oil, cedarwood oil, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil.

Treatments, management plans for tungiasis

As mentioned earlier, tungiasis will go away on its own within two weeks. Even so, there are natural ways to improve the side effects of flea bites like tungiasis. These include the following:

  • Apply aloe vera to the affected area to ease redness and swelling.
  • Mix one part white vinegar and one part water, then apply to the affected area to provide temporary relief.
  • Put teabags in the freezer and apply to the bite to relieve inflammation.
  • Use rubbing alcohol to dry the bites.
  • Use tea tree oil to ease itching.
  • Use witch hazel to relieve itching.
  • Wrap ice packs in a towel and apply to the skin to relieve swelling and to numb the area.

Where to learn more

Summary

Tungiasis is a skin infestation with the burrowing flea Tunga penetrans or related species.

Tungiasis causes yellow or brown bumps with a black spot in the center, severe itching and rash formation around the lesions, inflammation and swelling around lesions, itchiness, pain, blisters, ulcers, swelling, loss of toenails, deformation of toes, an auto-amputation of toes, and extensive infection can result to necrosis or the death of skin tissue.

Tungiasis can lead to other complications, such as viral and bacterial superinfections, severe tungiasis o the lower part of the body, making it difficult to walk due to severe pain, and acute inflammation and death of nearby tissue in some cases.

The Tunga penetrans flea can be repelled with garlic, lemons, lavender oil, cedarwood oil, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil.

Tungiasis can be treated with the help of aloe vera, tea tree oil, vinegar, cooled tea bags, rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, and ice packs.

Sources include:

DermNetNZ.org

WHO.int

DoveMed.com

RightDiagnosis.com

FleaBites.net

MedicineNet.com



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