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

Woman holding stomach and entering restroom.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Get medical help for severe symptoms that include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Stomach bloating or fullness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Unplanned weight loss

  • Blood in your stool

  • Dehydration

When to Go to the Emergency Room

  • Uncontrolled vomiting

  • Severe abdominal pain

What to Expect at the Doctor's Office

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

Preventing Giardiasis

Take these steps to help prevent infection with Giardia:

  • Wash your hands after using the bathroom and before eating.

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

  • Avoid drinking from rivers and streams, and use a water treatment kit when camping. 

  • Wash or peel raw produce before using.


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