Giardiasisenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P-infectGiard-enHD-AR1.jpgGiardiasis, one of the chief causes of diarrhea in the United States, is an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite.giardiasis, giardia lamblia, intestinal, parasites, microscopic, developing countries, endemic, diarrhea, diarea, diarrea, watery diarrhea, runny poop, unabsorbed fats in stool, abdominal cramps, distended abdomen, gas, loss of appetite, nausea, fevers, poor nutrition, mushy bowel movements, digestion, contaminated water, chlorine, water supply, water supplies, uncooked food, sick animals, dehydration, losing weight, liquid suspension, trouble gaining weight, community swimming pools, hand washing, no caffeinated beverages, stool tests, small intestine, endoscope, elisa03/22/200007/27/201809/02/2019Joanne Murren-Boezem, MD07/24/2018f1cd6920-2964-4bd2-815f-d3b2a1ee3018https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/giardiasis.html/<h3>What Is Giardiasis?</h3> <p>Giardiasis is an illness that affects the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/digestive.html/">digestive tract</a> (stomach and intestines). It's one of the top causes of <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/diarrhea.html/">diarrhea</a> in the United States.</p> <h3>What Causes Giardiasis?</h3> <p>Giardiasis (jee-are-DYE-uh-sis) is caused by the microscopic <em>Giardia </em>parasite. The parasite attaches itself to the lining of the small intestines in humans, where it causes diarrhea and interferes with the body's absorption of fats and carbohydrates from digested foods.</p> <h3>Is Giardiasis Contagious?</h3> <p>Giardiasis is very contagious, and can spread easily among families. In childcare centers or any facility caring for a group of people, or people who are traveling, giardiasis can easily pass from person to person.</p> <h3>How Does Giardiasis Spread?</h3> <p>Giardiasis spreads through water or food contaminated with the stool (poop) of someone who's infected. Animals (mainly dogs and beavers) who have giardiasis also can pass the parasite in their stool. The stool can then contaminate public water supplies, community swimming pools, and water sources like lakes and streams.</p> <p>Uncooked foods that have been rinsed in contaminated water and surfaces contaminated by stool (for instances, diaper pails and toilet handles) also can spread the infection.</p> <p>The <em>Giardia</em> parasite can survive the normal amounts of chlorine used to purify community water supplies, and can live for more than 2 months in cold water. As few as 10 of the microscopic parasites in a glass of water can cause severe giardiasis in a person who drinks it.</p> <h3>Who Gets Giardiasis?</h3> <p>In developing countries, giardiasis is a major cause of epidemic childhood diarrhea. But even people in developed countries can get the infection, especially children younger than 5.</p> <p>Young kids are more likely to have giardiasis than adults. So some experts think that our bodies gradually develop some form of immunity to the parasite as we get older. But it isn't unusual for an entire family to be infected, with some family members having diarrhea, some just crampy abdominal pains, and others with no symptoms.</p> <h3>What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Giardiasis?</h3> <p>Many people with giardiasis have no signs or symptoms of illness, even though the parasite is living in their intestines.</p> <p>When the parasite <em>does</em> cause symptoms, the illness usually begins with severe watery diarrhea. Giardiasis affects the body's ability to absorb fats from the diet, so the diarrhea contains unabsorbed fats. That means that the diarrhea floats, is shiny, and smells very bad.</p> <p>Other symptoms include:</p> <ul> <li>abdominal cramps</li> <li>low energy (malaise)</li> <li>lots of intestinal gas</li> <li>an enlarged belly from the gas</li> <li>loss of appetite</li> <li>nausea and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/vomit.html/">vomiting</a></li> <li>sometimes a low-grade <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/fever.html/">fever</a></li> </ul> <p>These symptoms may last for 5 to 7 days or longer. If they last longer, a child may <strong>lose weight</strong> or show other signs of poor nutrition.</p> <p>Sometimes, after acute (or short-term) symptoms of giardiasis pass, the disease begins a chronic (or more lasting) phase. Symptoms of <strong>chronic giardiasis</strong> include:</p> <ul> <li>periods of intestinal gas</li> <li>belly pain in the area above the navel (belly button)</li> <li>poorly formed, &quot;mushy&quot; bowel movements (poop)</li> <li>weight loss</li> <li>extreme tiredness</li> </ul> <h3>How Is Giardiasis Diagnosed?</h3> <p>Doctors confirm the diagnosis of giardiasis by taking <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/test-giardia.html/">stool samples</a> that are checked for <em>Giardia</em> parasites. Several samples may be needed before the parasites are found. For that reason, the doctor might order a much more sensitive test, the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or ELISA test.</p> <p>Less often, doctors make the diagnosis by looking at the lining of the small intestine with an instrument called an endoscope and taking samples from inside the intestine to be checked in a lab. This is done in more extreme cases, when a definite cause for the diarrhea hasn't been found.</p> <h3>How Is Giardiasis Treated?</h3> <p>Giardiasis is treated with prescription medicines that kill the parasites. Treatment takes about 5 to 7 days, and the medicine is usually given as a liquid. Some of these medicines may have side effects, so your doctor will tell you what to watch for.</p> <p>If your child has giardiasis, be sure to give all doses on schedule for as long as your doctor directs. This will help your child recover faster and will kill parasites that might infect others in your family. Encourage all family members to wash their hands well and often, especially after using the bathroom and before eating.</p> <p>A child who has diarrhea from giardiasis may lose too much fluid in the stool and become <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/dehydration.html/">dehydrated</a>. Make sure the child drinks plenty of liquids but no caffeinated beverages or juice, as they make the body lose water faster.</p> <p>Ask the doctor before you give your child any nonprescription drugs for cramps or diarrhea because these medicines may mask symptoms and interfere with treatment.</p> <h3>How Long Does Giardiasis Last?</h3> <p>In most cases, treatment with 5 to 7 days of antiparasitic medicine will help kids recover within a week's time. Medicine also shortens the time that they're contagious. If giardiasis isn't treated, symptoms can last up to 6 weeks or longer.</p> <h3>Can Giardiasis Be Prevented?</h3> <p>Some food safety and hygiene precautions can help prevent giardiasis. To help protect your family:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Drink only from water supplies that have been approved by local health authorities.</li> <li>Bring your own water when you go camping or hiking. Never drink from sources like mountain streams. Or boil water for at least 10 minutes.</li> <li>Wash raw <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/safe-veggies.html/">fruits and vegetables</a> well before you eat them.</li> <li>Wash your hands well before you cook food for yourself or for your family.</li> <li>Teach kids to <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hand-washing.html/">wash their hands</a> after every trip to the bathroom and especially before eating.</li> <li>Wash your hands often if you're caring for&nbsp;someone who has giardiasis.</li> <li>Have your kids wash their hands well after handling anything in &quot;touch tanks&quot; in aquariums, a potential source of giardiasis.</li> <li>Always wash hands well after changing a diaper.</li> <li>Have your water checked on a regular basis if it comes from a well.</li> </ul> <p>Also, it's questionable whether infants and toddlers still in diapers should be sharing public pools. But they definitely should <strong>not</strong> if they're having diarrhea or loose stools (poop).</p> <h3>When Should I Call the Doctor?</h3> <p>Call the doctor if your child has:</p> <ul> <li>lots of diarrhea, especially if he or she also has a fever and/or belly pain</li> <li>blood in the diarrhea</li> <li>occasional, small episodes of diarrhea that continue for several days, especially if your child doesn't want to eat much and is either losing weight or isn't gaining weight as expected</li> </ul>
AmebiasisAmebiasis is an intestinal illness transmitted when someone eats or drinks something that's contaminated with a microscopic parasite.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/amebiasis.html/b310b6cc-8a54-4b7d-8101-b84231338943
DehydrationSometimes kids lose fluids and salts through fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or sweating. Here are some tips on preventing or treating dehydration.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/dehydration.html/26fa7977-df7d-4ce1-87bd-cfe2b6db096c
DiarrheaMost kids battle diarrhea from time to time, so it's important to know what to do to relieve and even prevent it.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/diarrhea.html/38efbf41-ac94-4d02-be5d-365f9b03cc12
E. ColiUndercooked burgers and unwashed produce are among the foods that can harbor E. coli bacteria and lead to infection and severe diarrhea. Here's how to protect yourself.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/e-coli.html/e50859c8-aed8-4e36-80cf-946493dc4f12
First Aid: DiarrheaDiarrhea is common and usually not a sign of something serious. Find out what to do if your child has diarrhea.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/diarrhea-sheet.html/e38697dd-26dd-4dcf-91a7-fdf384030fd5
Food Safety for Your FamilyWhy is food safety important? And how can you be sure your kitchen and the foods you prepare in it are safe?https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/food-safety.html/0caf1e5d-2bda-4ba7-8855-560f9e30f791
Germs: Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi, and ProtozoaGerms are the microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that can cause disease.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/germs.html/78b1159a-926b-4cce-aeaa-d5220def6a58
Hand Washing: Why It's So ImportantWashing your hands well and often is the best way to keep from getting sick. Here's how to teach this all-important habit to your kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hand-washing.html/1751c1fa-461c-4b39-9003-a19c00f8549d
Infections That Pets CarryKids can benefit from the companionship, affection, and relationships they share with pets. But it's important to know how to protect your family from infections carried by pets and other animals.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/pet-infections.html/61a65ff3-292c-442e-86ed-364290e0442f
Shigella Infections (Shigellosis)Shigella are bacteria that can infect the digestive tract and cause a wide range of symptoms, from diarrhea, cramping, vomiting, and nausea, to more serious complications and illnesses.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/shigella.html/67699f01-6635-4ef1-b4c4-5f749ba2f73f
StomachachesUgh. Bellyaches. Find out what causes tummy trouble in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/abdominal-pain.html/2f422a06-b7a6-41f4-86b4-74e00ebf019a
Stool Test: Giardia AntigenThis test may be done if a child has watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, large amounts of intestinal gas, appetite loss, and nausea or vomiting.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/test-giardia.html/7f6ef65b-6970-473d-9bd1-23edf89ea4d2
Stool Test: Ova and Parasites (O&P)This exam may be done if your child has diarrhea for an extended period, blood or mucus in the stool, abdominal pain, nausea, headaches, or fever.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/test-oandp.html/1421526a-51aa-4a0e-8e86-bdfc27a46ed6
What Are Germs?You know they can hurt you, but what are these invisible creatures? Find out in this article for kids.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/germs.html/cd877075-9d39-4c9a-b4f8-d67cb341050f
kh:age-allAgesOrAgeAgnostickh:clinicalDesignation-infectiousDiseasekh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-infectiousDiseaseParasitic Infections (Worms, Lice, etc.)https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/infections/parasitic/6489d101-bb81-4fcf-ab14-b507a628cf66Gastrointestinal Infectionshttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/infections/stomach/00f6a5fa-9cac-45b3-b8c6-34813730a1eb