In order to make a Giardia diagnosis, the doctor will likely:
- Ask a number of questions
- Perform a physical exam
- Recommend certain tests.
As part of testing for Giardia, your healthcare provider will probably ask you to submit stool samples. Because the parasite can be difficult to diagnose, you may have to submit multiple stool specimens over several days.
Several prescription medicines are available to treat an infection (see Giardia Medication). These medicines cure the infection in about 80 percent of people. If a person's symptoms do not improve with treatment, the healthcare provider may recommend another medication or the same medicine for a longer time. Treatment of infections also involves staying well hydrated and possibly treating people with whom the infected person has been in contact.
(Click Giardia Treatment for more information.)
Anyone can get a Giardia infection. However, people who are more likely to become infected include:
- Childcare workers
- Parents of infected children
- International travelers
- People who drink from shallow wells
- People who swallow water from contaminated sources
- Children who attend daycare centers, including diaper-aged children
- Swimmers who swallow water while swimming in lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams
- Backpackers, hikers, and campers who drink unfiltered, untreated water.
Contaminated water includes water that has not been boiled, filtered, or disinfected with chemicals. Several community-wide outbreaks of giardiasis have been linked to drinking municipal water or recreational water contaminated with the parasite.