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Advice on Giardia

Giardiasis is an illness caused by a germ called Giardia. It causes diarrhoea which is often very smelly with a cramping stomach ache and wind.

You can pick up Giardiasis in the following three ways:

  • From someone else who is suffering from the illness
  • From drinking water which contains the germ - this is more likely to happen abroad
  • From pets or animals that have the germ

The germs are swallowed and grow in the gut. Symptoms usually start in seven to ten days but can take up to four weeks. The illness usually lasts for several days but can last for up to two weeks.

For further advice or information, please do not hesitate to contact the Food Hygiene and Safety Team.


Treatment

Whilst you have diarrhoea, drink plenty of fluids. Giardiasis is one of the few stomach bugs where antibiotics help, so your Doctor will be able to give you something to help you get better.

  • Wash hands with soap in warm running water and dry thoroughly, especially before preparing food and after using the toilet
  • Avoid close contact with other people until the diarrhoea has stopped
  • Avoid preparing food for other people
  • Make sure everyone at home has their own towel and flannel
  • Clean toilet seats, flush handles, door handles and taps frequently with hot soapy water and disinfectant solution
  • Soiled clothes and bedding should be washed on their own in the washing machine on the hottest cycle

You must stay away from work or school until at least 48 hours after your first normal stool. If your work involves handling food, nursing or working with the young, sick or elderly, you must tell your employer.

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