Giardia and Friends
Giardia is a parasite that lives in the bowels of infected animals and humans. Millions of giardia are released in feces from the infected host. The giardia can survive in soil, water, food, or surfaces of items contaminated with the feces. You can become infected with giardia by:
- Drinking contaminated water - including accidentally swallowing a bit of water while swimming or wading.
- Putting your hand or other object in your mouth that has contacted a contaminated surface
- Eating uncooked contaminated food
Giardia is present in many frontcountry and backcountry waterways. You should assume that all water you find is contaminated and needs to be treated. Pictures of sipping water from a cold mountain stream look nice, but are very risky.
Visit Water Dude for lots more information about giardia and other water-borne contaminates and water treatment procedures.
Symptoms normally begin from 1 to 2 weeks after infection. The symptoms continue for 2 to 6 weeks in otherwise healthy victims.
- Excessive flatulence (gas)
- Greasy stools
- Stomach cramps
- Use uncontaminated water.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Wash or peel all raw fruit and vegetables before eating.
- Ensure that water is free of giardia parasites by using one of these methods:
- Use a water filter with a maximum absolute pore size of 1 micron or less.
- Boil the water for at least 1 minute at a full, rolling boil.
- Chemically treat the water with chlorine or iodine.
There are several prescription drugs available to treat giardia.
See your doctor if you think you may have contracted the parasite. He will probably have you submit stool samples for diagnosis.
Drink plenty of uncontaminated water to replenish that being lost through diarrhea.
Jun 26, 2016 - Thais McKee
Jun 26, 2016 - Hiking Dude
Feb 14, 2017 - Toe Breaker
(yea, like that) and not fun to deal with. If there was a silver lining, it's probably that I lost 10 pounds.
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