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Contact a doctor for appropriate diagnosis and treatment if your symptoms are consistent with giardiasis, if symptoms last despite treatment, or if any new symptoms develop.

When to go to the hospital
  • Profuse watery diarrhea with dehydration
    • Signs and symptoms of dehydration in adults include being thirsty, feeling weak, decreased urination, no saliva or dry mouth, no tears, fast heart rate, and light-headedness.
    • Children with dehydration may also get irritable or sleepy.
  • Passing many small-volume stools with blood or mucus
  • Fever greater than 100.4°F (38°C)
  • More than 6 unformed stools in 24 hours
  • Illness longer than 48 hours
  • diarrhea with severe abdominal pain  in anyone older than 50 years
  • Diarrhea  in anyone older than 70 years
  • diarrhea in people with weakened immune systems such as those with AIDS, people receiving chemotherapy, or transplant recipients
Self-Care at Home
  • Drink fluids such as sports drinks, diluted fruit juices, flat soda (such as 7-Up or ginger ale, none with caffeine), broth, soups, or preparations such as Pedialyte for children. Fluids should be taken in small amounts frequently throughout the day. Avoid fluids containing caffeine.
  • Suck on ice chips to keep from becoming dehydrated if you cannot keep fluids down.
  • After 12 hours, thediet can be advanced to bland foods such as potatoes, noodles, rice, toast, cereal, crackers, and boiled vegetables. Avoid spicy, greasy, and fried foods.
  • After stools become formed, return to a regulardiet. Avoid milk for several weeks.
  • If you do not have fever or bloody diarrhea , you may take over-the-counter medication (along with antimicrobial prescription medication from your doctor). Loperamide is usually effective and should be taken as instructed on the label. Common nonprescription medication containing loperamide are Imodium, Kaopectate, and Pepto diarrhea Control.
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  • Avoid contaminated water.
    • Travelers to developing countries and hikers in the wilderness should consider all water sources contaminated. For travel to high-risk areas (Africa, Latin America, southern Asia), where medical care may not be readily available, talk to your doctor about taking prescription medication with you. Over 80% of diarrhea in travelers is caused by bacteria and is usually treated with a quinolone antibiotic. diarrhea that does not go away with a quinolone antibiotic may be caused by a parasite such as Giardia and can be treated with Flagyl. Any diarrheal illness that does not include fever or bloody diarrhea can be relieved with Imodium or Pepto-Bismol as directed, as long as the antibiotic is also taken.
    • All water must be boiled, filtered, or treated with halogenated tablets or solutions (chlorine-type treatment to purify).
    • Avoid foods washed in contaminated water or that cannot be cooked or peeled. Travelers to foreign countries should be especially careful to avoid drinking water in foreign countries (including ice cubes in drinks). Drink bottled water. Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables that may have been washed in contaminated water. Eat only items that can be peeled.
    • In the United States, many reported cases of giardia occur in the summer months. This may be due to the use of community swimming areas by young diaper-aged children (such as lakes, pools, and water parks.)
  • Avoid risky sexual behaviors.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after using the bathroom and before eating.
  • Wash hands after changing a baby's diaper. If you are a daycare worker, it is especially important to wash after changing each child.


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