What is giardiasis?

Giardiasis is a trivial disease, which can only be serious in immunosuppressed children or with previous digestive diseases. Most children with a Giardia infection have no symptoms.

Giardia is a microorganism found in the feces of infected people and is transmitted by person-to-person contact in day care centers and within the same family.

Causes

It is spread by fecal-oral contact and in settings where there is a lot of contact between children, such as day care centers. The biggest risk factor is not washing your hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers. Giardia can also be present in contaminated food and water and is a risk to hikers who drink untreated water from streams that may be contaminated with excrement from animals or other infected people.

Symptoms

It is a trivial disease , which can only be serious in immunosuppressed children or with previous digestive diseases.

Most children with a Giardia infection  have no symptoms. In other cases, they may have a fever along with prolonged watery diarrhea or pasty, foul-smelling stools that can cause loss of appetite, weight loss, or signs of dehydration. They may also have abdominal pain with excess gas and bloating. If the infestation is symptomatic, symptoms begin 7 to 14 days after exposure to the parasite and can last, without treatment, for about four to six weeks.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by examining a stool sample and Giardia intestinalis is noted . Samples of the child’s stool collected on three consecutive days are required.

 

Treatment

  • Cases that give symptoms and where the existence of Giardia has been proven are treated . An antibiotic is administered orally.
  • If the child has diarrhea , it is best that he is well hydrated, he has to drink plenty of fluids or rehydration serum. You should go to the pediatrician for an assessment. Giardiasis is cured with antibiotics. If the child has  Giardia organisms in the stool but has no symptoms, no treatment is necessary.
  • It is advisable not to go to the nursery until taking the treatment for three days to avoid contagion to the rest of the children. Likewise, maximum caution is recommended with the cohabitants of the affected child.

Prevention

  • Correct handwashing by nursery staff at each diaper change and within the family nucleus is essential .
  • Wash toys that one child puts in his or her mouth before another child plays with them.
  • Try not to swallow water when swimming in pools, lakes, or streams.
  • Consume bottled water when traveling to parts of the world where the water supply may not be safe. Bottled water that you have opened yourself should be used for drinking and brushing your teeth. Not asking for ice in bars or restaurants is also important.
  • Children and adults should avoid drinking untreated water from streams, lakes, rivers, and wells because groundwater and surface water can become infected with Giardia from agricultural runoff, sewage discharge, or animal feces. If you go camping or hiking, you must purify the water if it is taken from rivers. If you do not have access to guaranteed drinking water, you should boil it for 10 minutes or use water purification tablets.
  • These parasites can be transmitted through food , either because those who handle it are infected and do not wash their hands well, or because raw produce is irrigated or washed with contaminated water. Food should be thoroughly washed or cooked, as cooking kills parasites.

What you should know…

  • It is a trivial disease, which can only be serious in immunosuppressed children or with previous digestive diseases.
  • Most children with a Giardia infection  have no symptoms.
  • Cases that give symptoms and where the existence of Giardia has been proven are treated . An oral antibiotic will be administered.
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