Giardiasis Infection in Humans.

I wrote in my last post about giardiasis disease and how it affects our lovely pets, you can read about it in case you haven't, I remember that I also mentioned that the unique thing about this disease is that, it can affect pets and pet owners, but it is not spread from pets to pet owners. In today's post, we will unveil together what it means for humans to have giardiasis and what can be done about it. As I always mention here, we must look out for our own safety as we look out for the safety of our pets as well. Without wasting more time friend, let's get straight to the discussion for the day.

Giardia is a tiny parasite (germ) that causes the diarrheal disease called Giardiasis, giardia could be found on surfaces of food, water, or soil that have been contaminated with the feces of an infected animal or person. If at any point you swallow giardia germs, you can get giardiasis. Giardia spreads very easily and can spread from one person to another person through the contamination of food, water, objects, or other contaminated surfaces, the most common way people fall sick is through the swallowing of contaminated water or food.

Once a person gets infected with giardia, the parasite lives in the intestines and gets passed through stool, once this parasite gets out of the body, it has the tendency to exist for several weeks or even months. I mentioned already that swallowing the germs would cause infection, giardia spreads very fast, and even when a very tiny amount of infected poop finds its way into your mouth, sickness begins automatically. Giardiasis can be spread through;

  • Traveling within regions where there is poor sanitation.

  • Contact with infected animals or animal environments contacted with poop.

  • Swallowing unsafe food or water contaminated with Giardia germs.

  • Close contact with a person who has giardiasis, particularly children.

  • Exposure to the poop of an infected person through sexual contact. (anal sex).

  • The transfer of giardia germs picked up from contaminated surfaces into the mouth.

Giardiasis parasites exist around the world, in several continents and countries, creating even bigger problems in countries with poor sanitation like developing countries but you can get it anywhere. When the Giardia parasite enters into the body, it lives inside the small intestine making your stomach hurt, but not everyone who comes in contact with giardia eventually gets sick, for some people who get sick the sickness may even go away on its own.

Giardiasis often causes digestive symptoms like stomach cramps or diarrhea, the symptoms would range from mild to irritating and then to severe. The symptoms of giardiasis include; Stomach cramps, bloating or gas, dehydration, nausea, unsettled stomach, fatigue, and diarrhea. Sickness after several days of infection is very possible, the symptoms could last from 2-6 weeks, and may not even start showing until after three weeks, it is also possible not to have any symptoms at all from giardiasis.

Giardiasis can be diagnosed through the testing of stool for the presence of the Giardia parasite, the parasite may not show up in every stool sample, so more than one stool sample may be required for proper confirmation. With several symptoms, healthcare providers may need to examine your intestine with the use of a thin, flexible tube, this procedure for examination is called upper endoscopy. The parasites are usually seen when tiny pieces of biopsies obtained during endoscopy are examined in the lab, the content of the intestine will also be thoroughly scanned for the visibility of parasites.

Most cases of giardiases are minor symptoms that will go away on their own, with the presence of more parasitic symptoms, the healthcare provider will prescribe an antibiotic that has an antiparasitic effect to kill the parasite. It is necessary to follow the instructions of trained doctors and take pills as prescribed, if you fail to follow up with the prescribed procedure, the infection may not clear and there may be a need for a second round of medication in order to clear the infection and completely get rid of the parasite.

Having established that giardia parasites are microscopic in nature, we also understand how difficult it is to avoid a thing we cannot see, there are however several ways to minimize the risk of getting giardiasis, let's list out some of them quickly;

  • Wash your hands as frequently as possible with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds, always wash your hands before eating, right after using the toilet, after taking care of a child's diapers, or even after contact with another human.

  • Consume only water from safe sources, water could look clean but contain parasites, do not drink untreated water from wells, pools, lakes, and rivers. If you are in doubt about a water source then don't drink it, go for bottled water instead and if that is not available, try to boil your water for about five minutes before consuming it.

  • Understand the basis of food safety: Properly washing all your fruits and vegetables under hot water would help prevent giardiasis, do not consume raw or undercooked meat, and be cautious of exposed fruits or fruits in areas where food and water have a high chance of being contaminated.

  • The practice of safe sex can help prevent a long range of sexually transmitted infections, to prevent giardiasis protection, especially during oral sex should be practiced, wash your hands after sex as well.

Giardiasis can lead to some form of complications like weight loss and dehydration from diarrhea, the infection can cause lactose intolerance in some people, when it happens to children under 5 years of age, they are at risk of malnutrition which can affect the development of the child physically and mentally.


Giardiasis could be picked up from a giardia infection through the stool of an infected person or an infected animal, it could live outside the body for weeks or months and can be passed into the human body through contact with feces, water, or contaminated surfaces.



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