Giardia is a disease that can affect both animals and humans. It can be acquired by hiking, drinking well water, travelling and from pets. Giardia is often left unnoticed or believed to be only irritable bowel syndrome. Nevertheless, it is a disease that can be treated. Remember that it should be avoided since it can trigger prolonged symptoms of irritable bowel and fatigue.
Characteristic of giardia
The disease is capable of causing some abdominal discomfort along with cramping and diarrhea. It can also cause evident sulfuric-smelling gas, burps and greasy stools that float.
Giardia can also cause chronic fatigue in some individuals. If treatment is not provided, the condition can last for a long time and can be upsetting for many. In addition, it can also lead to weight loss and rarely fever.
The symptoms typically manifest in 10 days. Some might have symptoms as quickly as 3 days after being exposed while others can take up to 3 weeks.
Can it become chronic?
The disease can last for a long time if treatment is not started. It can also persist during treatment and might take weeks to completely vanish. In some cases, however, it can lead to irritable bowel syndrome along with lasting fatigue for years even after being infected even after treatment. In such cases, antibiotics will not deal with the symptoms. This is why it is vital to avoid acquiring this infection as much as possible.
Who are at risk?
- Children in daycare centers
- Campers and hikers who drink in rivers, lakes or well water
- Being exposed to infected animals
- Swimming in infested rivers or lakes
- Exposure or ingestion of food prepared by an infected individual
Always bear in mind that the infection is unlikely to be triggered by infections from pets. It also infects dogs and cats particularly the young ones but it is usually the different strains.
In most cases of giardia, antibiotics particularly metronidazole is utilized. The antibiotic should be taken for weeks at more than once a day.
How giardia spreads
The microorganism can be ingested through contaminated water. Remember that even if the water might seem fresh, it might be contaminated.
Even contaminated food can also spread the infection. Infected individuals can readily contaminate food. An individual who has been infected can shed billions of cysts in the stool. It can take as few as 10 cysts to infect an individual.
Giardia can also spread at daycare centers if hand washing and other hygienic measures were not observed. In addition, it can also spread via sexual intercourse.
The best way to prevent the spread of giardia to others is to properly wash hands after using the toilet and before the preparation of food.