Giardia and Waterborne Illness: What You Need to Know

How can I protect myself from Giardia and other waterborne illnesses?

Waterborne illness is an ever present threat to public health, and Giardia is a commonly known pathogen responsible for a variety of illnesses including severe gastrointestinal infections. In this article, we will discuss the risks associated with Giardia and what you need to know to protect yourself and your loved ones from waterborne illness.

What is Giardia?

Giardia is a microscopic parasite responsible for a waterborne illness known as giardiasis. It is usually found in waterways throughout the world, and it can survive in natural bodies of water for extended periods of time. Infection usually occurs through the accidental ingestion of contaminated water in lakes, streams, rivers, and the like.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Giardiasis?

The symptoms of giardiasis can range from mild to very severe. Symptoms can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Weight loss

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to see a physician as soon as possible and inform them of your potential exposure to contaminated water.

What Are The Risk Factors For Giardiasis?

The risk of Giardia infection is generally highest for people who come into direct contact with contaminated water. This includes activities such as swimming, kayaking, and other outdoor activities. People with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV, AIDS, or cancer are also at increased risk for infection.

How Can You Protect Yourself From Giardia?

There are several steps that you can take to protect yourself from Giardia infection. It is important to always be aware of any bodies of water that may have been contaminated by sewage or other sources of contamination. If possible, avoid drinking or swimming in such bodies of water. If that is not possible, it is also important to use water purification tablets or other forms of filtration to help remove the Giardia parasite.

What Is The Treatment For Giardiasis?

Giardiasis can be treated with several different medications, including antibiotics. It is important to note, however, that the medications are only effective if taken correctly and as prescribed by a physician. Additionally, it is important to continue to follow the same safety steps listed above as you may still be at risk for infection even after successful treatment.


Giardia is a common waterborne illness that can have devastating effects on those infected. Taking precautions to protect yourself from this parasite is essential in order to prevent infection. If you believe you have been exposed to contaminated water, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

By taking the necessary precautions and being aware of the risks, you can help protect yourself from Giardia and other waterborne illnesses.