Giardiasis is an intestinal infection caused by the parasite Giardia. You may become infected by having contaminated food or water. Exposure to the stool of someone who`s infected can also cause infection.

When to call the healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider for severe symptoms that include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Stomach bloating or fullness

  • Upset stomach (nausea) or vomiting

  • Unplanned weight loss

  • Blood in your stool

  • Dehydration

When to call 911

Call 911 if you have: 

  • Uncontrolled vomiting

  • Severe belly pain

What to expect at the healthcare provider's office

You will be examined and will likely have a stool sample checked in a lab. This stool is checked for the parasite that causes the disease. If giardiasis is suspected or confirmed, you may be prescribed medicine that you take for 5 to 7 days. In many cases, this clears the infection.

Preventing giardiasis

Closeup of woman washing hands in sink.
Lávese las manos con frecuencia para ayudar a prevenir la infección por giardia.

Take these steps to help prevent infection with Giardia:

  • Wash your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) after using the bathroom and before eating. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may not work against Giardia.

  • Wash your hands each time you change a child's diaper.

  • Don't drink from rivers and streams.

  • Use a water treatment kit when camping. 

  • Wash or peel raw fruits and vegetables before using.

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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