Giardiasis is an infection in your small intestine. It’s caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia lamblia. Giardiasis spreads through contact with infected people. Pet dogs and cats also frequently contract giardia. You can also get giardiasis by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Giardia can be found all over the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, it’s more common in overcrowded developing countries that lack sanitary conditions and water quality control. Some people can carry giardia parasites without experiencing any symptoms. Symptoms of giardiasis generally show up one or two weeks after exposure. Common symptoms include:
• diarrhea or greasy stools
• loss of appetite
• bloating and abdominal cramps
• weight loss
• excessive gas
• abdominal pain
HOW IS GIARDIASIS DIAGNOSED?
Your general physician may diagnose the condition with one or two stool samples. The stools of the infected person will contain the giardia parasites. An endoscopy may also be performed.
HOW IS GIARDIASIS TREATED?
Treatment involves use of antiparasitic drugs but in most cases the condition will treat on its own. The common medications prescribed here include Metronidazole, Tinidazole, Nitazoxanide and Paromomycin.
DID YOU KNOW?
You can't prevent giardiasis, but you can lower your risk of getting it by thoroughly washing your hands, especially if you work in places where germs spread easily, such as day care centers.