Nov 09, 2023
Giardiasis is an intestinal illness that causes watery diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and stomach pains. Giardia infection is caused by a minute parasite that is widespread throughout the world, especially in areas with poor sanitation and contaminated water.
The parasites are present in swimming pools, whirlpool spas, public water sources, wells, and wild streams and lakes. Giardia infections can spread through two different channels, food and human interaction.
Giardia infections usually clear up in a few weeks. But even after the parasites have vanished, stomach problems could still exist. Although several drugs are effective against giardia parasites, not all patients experience these benefits. The most effective method is prevention.
Giardia parasites live in the intestines of both humans and animals. Before being expelled in feces, the microscopic parasites can survive outside of the intestines for months due to the hard shells they produce called cysts that shield them from the environment. When the cysts inside the host dissolve, the parasites are released.
An infection develops if you unintentionally swallow the parasite cysts. This may occur from consuming contaminated food, consuming contaminated water, or coming into contact with someone else.
The most common way to get giardia is to drink contaminated or unsafe water. Giardia parasites can be found in lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams all around the world. Additionally, swimming pools, water parks, spas, cisterns, public water sources, and wells are habitats for them. Giardia may penetrate surface and ground waterways by agricultural runoff, wastewater discharge, and animal excrement. Children in diapers and those with diarrhea may unintentionally contaminate spas and swimming pools.
Giardia can spread through food when raw fruit is cleaned or irrigated with contaminated water, or when people handling food who have giardia illnesses fail to wash their hands adequately. Food is a less common source of illness than water, especially in affluent countries, because cooking eliminates giardia.
Your hands can become contaminated with Giardia if they come into contact with feces
Parents who change a child's diaper are especially at risk. Both the carers and the children are experiencing more frequent breakouts in childcare institutions. Furthermore, the giardia parasite can be spread through anal intercourse.
Some people with giardia infections remain undetected while carrying the parasite and having the ability to spread it to others through their feces. If someone gets sick, the following signs and symptoms can appear one to three weeks after exposure:
The signs and symptoms of a Giardia infection can last anywhere from two to six weeks, however in some cases, they may recur or continue longer.
Giardia parasites are a highly common type of intestinal parasite. Although everybody can get a Giardia parasite infection, some people are more susceptible than others:
Your doctor will likely test a sample of your stool to help with the diagnosis of giardiasis. To ensure accuracy, you might be asked to provide many stool samples collected over several days. Subsequently, the samples undergo laboratory testing to detect the presence of parasites. Stool tests might also be done to monitor the effectiveness of any therapies you are receiving.
For children or adults with giardia infections who do not show symptoms, treatment is usually not required unless they are at danger of transmitting the parasites. Even those who do encounter problems usually bounce back on their own in a few weeks.
When giardia infections cause severe symptoms or the infection persists, doctors usually prescribe drugs such as these.
It is not routinely indicated to treat giardia infection during pregnancy due to potentially harmful pharmacological effects on the baby. If your symptoms are mild, your doctor might suggest delaying therapy until after the first trimester or even later. Consult your doctor about the best course of action if treatment is necessary.
No vaccine or medicine can prevent a Giardia infection. On the other hand, you may considerably reduce your chance of getting infected or spreading an infection to others by adopting appropriate safety measures.
A giardia infection seldom results in death in developed countries. But, especially in young infants and babies, it can have serious repercussions and lingering symptoms. The most common complications are as follows:
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