What is giardia infection?
The intestinal infection, giardia infection is triggered by a minuscule parasite which is found worldwide, particularly in areas with unsafe water and poor sanitation. Moreover, the infection causes nausea, bloating, abdominal cramps and watery diarrhea.
More specifically, it is a waterborne infection while the parasite known for causing giardia infection can be found in swimming pools, backcountry lakes and streams, municipal water supplies, wells and whirlpool spas. It can even be transmitted by one person to another and through food.
Even though it typically clears up after completing its course in some weeks, however intestinal problems tend to exist long after. Certain medications are reported to be effective against its parasite, however not all respond well to them. Clearly, prevention is the greatest defense.
What are the symptoms of giardia infection?
Few individuals with the infection never notice any symptoms however carry its parasite, whilst transmit it through their feces to others. People who become ill, their symptoms normally appear 7-14 days after exposure. Symptoms include:
- Weight loss.
- Bad taste.
- Belching gas.
- Abdominal bloating and cramps.
- Malaise or fatigue.
- Watery diarrhea.
Its symptoms last for 2-4 weeks, however for few, they can last even longer.
What causes giardia infection?
Giardia parasites prevail in animals and human’s intestines. Before releasing through feces, they become covered within solid shells- cysts. These cysts enable the parasites to survive for months outside. Once the cysts manage to get inside a new host, gradually, they dissolve releasing the parasites to cause infection. Thus, infection occurs in case someone accidentally ingests such cysts containing parasites.
Moreover, this can happen by consuming contaminated food, drinking contaminated water or by contact of one person to another.
What possible complications giardia infection can lead?
Clearly, giardia infection is not deadly, yet can cause serious complication and distressing symptoms particularly in children and infants. Few possible complications include:
- Lactose intolerance.
- Chronic diarrhea can lead malnutrition which may harm children’s mental and physical development.
How is giardia infection diagnosed?
The only test that can help your doctor determine you have giardia infection is stool test. The doctor will ask you to submit few stool samples in order to check the presence of parasite. These stool samples will also help your doctor monitor the response of treatment you will be receiving after being diagnosed.
How is giardia infection treated?
People who do develop its symptoms hardly need any treatment, while people with mild symptoms as well, need no medical treatment as they will recover on their own after the due course of giardia infection is completed.
If the infection continues or you have severe symptoms, the doctor will prescribe medications in order to treat and clean up the parasite from your intestine. Few medicines your doctor may suggest include:
- Tinidazole (Tindamax).
- Metronidazole (Flagyl).
- Nitazoxanide (Alinia).
You can prevent giardia infection by following the below mentioned precautions:
- Frequently wash your hands.
- Avoid drinking water from streams, ponds, springs, river, lakes and shallow wells.
- Always boil water for at least 10 minutes for drinking purpose.
- While swimming in streams, lakes or pools make sure you do not swallow water.
- While traveling, always carry your safe boil water.
By : Natural Health News