Who are Giardia: how to prevent infection
If practically every one of us knows about helminths (worms), then such parasites as Giardia are less known. Giardia are unicellular simple organisms that, when released into the human body, parasitize it. Most often Giardia parasitize in the small intestine, less often – in the duodenum, liver and gall bladder. In the summer, the issue of infection with various parasites is very topical: therefore, it will not be superfluous to know the manifestation of giardiasis (Giardia infection) and disease prevention measures.
Giardiasis is considered a disease of dirty hands.
In most cases, as doctors emphasize, Giardia infection often occurs when personal hygiene is ignored. Therefore, giardiasis as well as intestinal infections, helminth infections (infection with worms) are considered to be a disease of dirty hands. Children are more likely to become infected with Giardia than adults, especially in groups – kindergartens, holiday camps, etc. It is easy to become infected with Giardia from animals or an infected person, household items used by a sick person who has not washed out his hands. Giardia is quite tenacious and able to maintain viability, settling in dust, on the ground, on vegetables and fruits, in tap water, even when it is chlorinated.
How is Giardia infection manifested
Giardiasis is cunning because it can be masked as other diseases, especially in young children. Abdominal pain caused by waste products lamblia, taken for food poisoning or colic, gas, which often bother young children. In case of giardiasis, the signs of infection may not appear at all, and only laboratory diagnosis helps to identify the infection. However, the following symptoms will help to suspect infection with Giardia:
poor appetite and reluctance to eat
weight loss – a person loses weight for no apparent reason
pieces of undigested food in feces.
The danger of giardiasis is that giardia, once in the intestine, deprive the human body of nutrients, vitamins, amino acids, etc., “taking” them. This is especially dangerous for children, because children begin to lose weight and eat poorly, which is reflected in the overall development of the child. Giardia adversely affect the body’s defenses, weakening the immune and nervous systems, affecting the internal organs – up to the heart muscle and changing the composition of the blood. Therefore, with the above symptoms, it is important to consult a doctor and be examined. A specialist may prescribe a complete blood count, an ultrasound scan of the liver and pancreas, a stool test for Giardia cysts, etc.
Prevention of Giardia Infection
To avoid infection with any types of parasites, including Giardia, it is important to follow the rules of personal hygiene and food processing:
wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet, returning from the street before eating
thermally correctly process products, especially meat and fish, bringing them to full readiness
drink only boiled or purified water
Do not swim in polluted water bodies and when bathing try not to swallow water. After bathing, take a shower, wash bathing clothes, towels
wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them
get rid of bad habits biting nails, pens or pencils, watch out for children so that they do not pull dirty hands and objects in their mouths
wash your hands if you are strayed and do not forget to regularly give worms to your pets.