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What is Giardiasis Illness?

Posted on in Food Poisoning
What is Giardiasis Illness?

Giardiasis illness, also known as Giardia infection, is an illness that occurs when an individual consumes food or water that has been contaminated with Giardia, a microscopic parasite. Generally, Giardia contaminates food and water through the feces of animals harboring the parasite. When a human comes into contact with Giardia, he or she can become very ill and suffer numerous symptoms.

Giardiasis illness is one of the most common waterborne illnesses in the United States. When Giardiasis illness is contracted through eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water, it can be considered a case of food poisoning.

How is Giardiasis Illness Contracted?

Giardiasis illness is contracted by coming into contact with contaminated water or food. It can be spread through person-to-person contact if one of the people involved has been infected. Generally, it is contracted in areas with dirty water and poor sanitation. When it is spread through food, the food is typically contaminated by handlers who have not washed their hands thoroughly or through produce that was washed in contaminated water.

Symptoms of Giardiasis Illness

Giardiasis illness affects the intestines. Symptoms of the condition include:

  • Abdominal cramps;
  • Watery stools;
  • Fatigue;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea; and
  • Weight loss.

These symptoms can occur one to three weeks after the initial infection. In most cases, they subside within two to six weeks.

Treating Giardiasis Illness

Although the symptoms of Giardiasis illness generally subside on their own with time, much like other types of food poisoning, there are times when medical intervention is necessary. If your symptoms do not subside somewhat within a week or so, contact your doctor. If you are pregnant, elderly, or have a weakened immune system, contact your doctor as soon as symptoms appear.

The main risk of Giardiasis illness is dehydration. By losing water through diarrhea and vomiting, you can drastically reduce the amount of fluid in your body and put yourself at risk of suffering from hypovolemic shock. Keep yourself well-rested and sufficiently hydrated while you experience Giardiasis symptoms.

To diagnose your case, your doctor will need a stool sample. If your doctor determines that you need medical treatment, which is typically the case in patients who doctors believe are at risk of spreading the infection, you will be prescribed medication. Medications used to treat Giardiasis illness include Metronidazole, Tinidazole, and Nitazoxanide. Although Giardiasis rarely has long-term complications in adults, it can cause malnutrition and related growth delays in children and infants.

Work with an Experienced Rolling Meadows Food Poisoning Lawyer

If you or your child have suffered from Giardiasis or another form of food poisoning because of another party's negligence, you could be entitled to recover compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more about this process and your rights as an injured claimant, speak with one of the experienced food poisoning lawyers on our team at Newland & Newland, LLP. Contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation with us. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.

(image courtesy of Ethan Sykes)

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