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Giardiasis—Getting the Facts (How to Avoid it)

Giardiasis (giardia infection) is a diarrhea-symptomatic disease that is caused by the microscopic parasite known as giardia. Parasites need hosts in order to survive. Once infected, the giardia parasite will thrive within the intestines and can be passed out through bowel evacuation of feces. It can survive for quite some time once outside of the body—in some cases weeks or even months.

How Is Giardia Spread?

Giardia is spread rather easily as it can live on multiple surfaces such as diaper changing tables, bathroom handles, faucets, counters, toys, etc., anywhere where feces may have touched or been carried to by someone's hand.

Giardia may be found in untreated or poorly treated drinking water sources (from wells, lakes, etc.)

Swimming or simply splashing around in lake water, river water, springs, etc. could pass giardia if some of the water is ingested.

Eating improperly cooked or raw foods that may contain giardia.

There are many ways to spread giardia and the aforementioned are but a few examples. If giardia is a concern and you think you may have been exposed, talk to your doctor about your options.

Symptoms of Giardia Infection

While it is possible to have a giardia infection and experience no symptoms, giardia infection can bring about a wide array of uncomfortable and distressing intestinal symptoms such as the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gas / Flatulence
  • Stomach or Abdominal Cramps
  • Upset Stomach or Stomach Discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration

NOTE: Symptoms could progress and/or lead to weight loss in some cases. The aforementioned list is by no means comprehensive. Talk to your doctor for more detailed information on symptoms.

Treatment

There are several effective drug treatments for giardia infection. In addition to drug treatment, sufferers should drink plenty of fluids until the infection is cleared. Dehydration is a dangerous potential effect of giardia infection and can be life-threatening for some, especially infants. Some of the drugs used to treat giardia infection are listed below. Talk to your doctor about the many options for treatment and the benefits of compounded drugs for your treatment.

Drugs Used to Treat Giardia Infection

  • Metronidazole
  • Tinidazole
  • Nitazoxanide
  • Paromomycin
  • Quinacrine
  • Furazolidone

NOTE: Some of the aforementioned drugs may not be FDA approved in the United States. Talk to your doctor about the drug options available to you.

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    Clair C. | West Hollywood, CA