Giardia Infection Treatment Bristol, VA
Caused by the parasite Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia), Giardiasis (beaver fever) is an infection of your small intestine that causes abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea and stints of watery diarrhea. Commonly found in areas of poor sanitation and unsafe water, Giardia intestinalis often infects people who swallow contaminated water, such as from lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Giardiasis is commonly spread from person-to-person contact and is among the most common causes of waterborne disease in the United States. Children are the most commonly afflicted by a giardia infection, but giardia in adults does occur; typically, people who are without access to safe drinking water, such as rural or wilderness areas, are at a higher risk.
While most cases of giardiasis subside within a few weeks, you may experience intestinal problems long after the parasites leave your system. In industrialized countries, a giardia infection is almost never fatal but may lead to a number of complications, which include:
- Dehydration may occur as the result of severe diarrhea, causing insufficient water in the body to carry out its normal functions.
- Malnutrition, caused by chronic diarrhea, in which children’s physical and mental development are affected.
- Lactose intolerance, the inability to properly digest milk sugar.
Meet a healthcare provider in Bristol that specializes in giardiasis treatment and who can aid in your recovery process if you find yourself a victim of a giardia infection. Call (423) 482-8711 or contact Dr. Dalal Akoury online.
In certain cases, people with giardiasis experience no symptoms. In others, symptoms typically begin 1-3 weeks after infection and can last for several weeks. Diarrhea often marks a giardia infection, which may be accompanied by the following giardiasis symptoms:
- Greasy stools
- Stomach cramps
- Gas or flatulence
- Weight loss
To confirm a giardiasis diagnosis, your healthcare provider will likely request a sample of your stool which can be tested in a laboratory; this may consist of several samples taken over the course of a specified period of days to ensure accuracy. These samples are examined for the presence of parasites, while they may also be used to gauge the efficacy of the treatment you receive.
In general, a giardia infection goes away on its own without presenting symptoms or the need for treatment. Patients who present with symptoms typically get better on their own in a few weeks; however, when signs and symptoms are severe, and the infection persists, treatment of giardia will likely consist of a course of antibiotics or an antiparasitic medication. Your healthcare provider will be able to monitor your symptoms and recommend a course of treatment that works for you, keeping in mind your medical history, medical needs as well as current health factors (such as if you are pregnant). It is also important to drink plenty of fluids—especially for infants, children and pregnant women—to prevent the onset of dehydration.
Preventing a Giardia Infection
Taking proper precautions can significantly reduce your chance of becoming infected by giardia intestinalis. These include:
- Avoid the consumption of water from shallow wells, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds and streams unless first purifying it by boiling at 158°F for a minimum of 10 minutes.
- Keep your mouth shut in swimming pools, lakes and streams.
- Always wash your hands after using the restroom, changing diapers and before and after preparing food.
- When soap and water isn’t available to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Only a qualified healthcare provider can provide sound judgment in recommending giardia treatment, so meeting with one is essential if you find yourself experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms. Schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Bristol that specializes in giardiasis treatment. Call (423) 482-8711 or contact Dr. Dalal Akoury online.
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