Giardia in Humans – An Overview of the Intestinal Infection

Giardia is an infection in intestine, which is caused by flagellated protozoan parasite and Giardia lamblia. It is transmitted to humans through ingestion of infected food and water. The infection may also occur when natural water is contaminated in watersheds due to intensive grazing.

Giardia in Humans – Ways to Transmit the Disease

Giardia infection results from poor hygiene and is transmitted by oral and fecal routes. The dormant cysts are ingested by humans through water and food, which is contaminated. Infection of Giardia in humans can be transmitted through infectious water in wells and storage systems. This also includes areas with stagnant water like ponds and mountain streams. City reservoirs are also affected by Giardia cyst, which can survive even after the treatment of water with chlorination, etc. Giardia in humans also affects people who camp in wild areas and swim in lakes, which are contaminated. Giardia affects children who go to daycare centers and do not take care of hygiene, which results in infection.

Giardia Symptoms – Major Health Problems

Giardia parasite resides in the intestine of infected person. It then passes through stools. Gardia symptoms last for a period of 1-2 weeks. Some people may show no symptoms. However, there may be nausea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal cramps and foul flatus. Watery diarrhea and fever are the other giardia symptoms. Imbalance of electrolytes can be life threatening as it leads to shock and even coma. In acute stage, there are greasy stools and cycle of watery stools with constipation. Early satiety, acid indigestion, bloating, loss of appetite and fatigue are the other symptoms of the disease. In some people, there is malaise, weight loss, lactose intolerance and allergic symptoms.

Giardia Treatment – Remedial Measures

Giardia infection is often misdiagnosed. For an accurate diagnose, antigen test or stool examination should be done. Its infection can be prevented by boiling drinking water. This kills giardia parasite and make the water safe for drinking. Adopt good hygiene habits and wash hands properly. You should avoid consumption of raw food and the usage of untreated water. Giardia treatment is done through medication, which includes metronidazole, and tinidazole. Other medicine used for the infection is nitazoxanide. Berberine sulfate is used as an alternative giardia treatment. It is antimicrobial and antipyretic. However, these medicines should not be used during pregnancy.

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