Giardia is a parasitic organism which can live inside the gut of living things eg people, animals. It can cause health problems in our children, sometimes without too many symptoms.
Children who are mostly at risk are those in the preschool years, or who have a problem with immune GA_googleFillSlot("minti_advice_island_logged_out_300x250"); system. It can be passed from day to day contact, and by children chewing on comtaminated toys in waiting rooms, preschool, play group etc.
Giardia is commonly spread through drinking water in which it is present. People who drink tank water are particularly at risk, Though just because water has been chlorinated is no garantee that it is Giardia free.
All drinking water should be boiled, or better distilled, including for tooth brushing.
Symptoms of Giardia can be stomach aches, flatulence, diarrheah and can cause problems such as intolerence to gluten and dairy products. It can also lead to poor growth and poor weight gain in younger children.
Diagnosis is by stool culture, although sometimes the results can come in negative even when its positive.
Once diagnosed it can be treated. Giardia can host other micro organisms. As the Giardia cells break down the other parasites can kick in. So therefore treatment is in 2 stages with 2 different medicines and sometimes symptoms become a lot worse before improving.
After treatment via medication it is vital to prevent reinfestatoin by water boiling, good hygiene etc.
My son is going to be tested for Giardia on advice from a Paediatrician. He has had recurrent upper respiratory infections, with many days off school and also has a minor blood immunoglobin disorder. So he is at risk.
So if your child has had recurring infections, stomach aches, wind,diarreah for a long period of time it may be worth looking into.
My recommendation is for everyone to boil their drinking water for at least 3 mins. Send your child to school with a water bottle, don't let them drink from the bubbler. Some people can actually carry this organism without even realising and it causes them no ill effect, then they can pass it onto another person who is not as lucky and it will cause them ill health.