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How do I Choose the Best Treatment for Giardiasis?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2016
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The most common treatment for giardiasis is to remain hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, and to take an over the counter anti-diarrheal medication, since diarrhea is the primary symptom of this infection. A bland diet should also be eaten for several days, and dairy products should be avoided for two or three weeks. If dehydration is a problem, electrolyte solutions are beneficial. Sometimes a doctor may be necessary if the issue becomes very severe.

Giardiasis is an infection caused by a one-celled organism. It is generally caused by eating or drinking contaminated food and drink or through physical contact with an infected person. This illness generally causes excessively watery diarrhea along with abdominal pain and cramping, excessive passing of intestinal gas, and sometimes nausea. These symptoms can last anywhere from one week or longer, depending on the individual.

Most patients can find treatment for giardiasis in their local pharmacies in the form of an anti-diarrheal medication containing the drug loperamide. There are several name brands with this ingredient. You should also avoid foods which are hard to digest and eat a bland diet until stools are no longer watery. This can include potatoes, applesauce, bananas, toast, and rice. If you cannot keep foods down, try sipping on water, chicken broth, and eating gelatin until your stomach settles.

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The most important aspect of treatment for giardiasis is to stay well hydrated. Diarrhea can cause severe dehydration if it continues for several days. You should drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day. Avoid caffeinated beverages like soda and coffee, and do not drink milk. Clear juices, water, broths, and electrolyte fluids are best.

If symptoms become severe or persist for longer than a week without improvement, a trip to the doctor is in order. You may need to be given a prescription strength diarrhea medication, as well as an antimicrobial medication to kill off the infection. Infants and small children as well as the elderly should not wait before seeing a doctor, as dehydration is especially dangerous for these individuals. If vomiting, fever, or bloody stools are present, go and see your doctor.

While undergoing treatment for giardiasis, you should get as much rest as possible so that your body can fight off the infection. This means taking time off work and avoiding contact with others, especially those with compromised immune systems. It is important to wash your hands after using the restroom to avoid spreading the infection to others. If you have to return to work, do not shake hands or share utensils with others, and wash hands often.

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