The most common treatment plan for Giardia involves prescribed medications, lots of fluids, and possibly treating people who have been in close contact with the infected person. If the infection remains after trying several different medicines, potential causes of reinfection (such as environmental sources) should be explored. With chronic giardiasis, treatment may kill the parasite, but it can take awhile before symptoms improve.
Giardia Treatment: An Overview
Treating Giardia typically involves medicine, staying well hydrated, and possibly treating those in close contact with the infected person.
Medicine for Treating Giardia
Several prescription medicines are available for Giardia treatment (see Giardia Medication). These medicines cure Giardia infection in about 80 percent of people. If a person's Giardia symptoms do not improve with treatment, the healthcare provider may recommend treatment with another Giardia medication or with the same medicine for a longer period of time.
For someone with chronic giardiasis, treatment may kill the parasite (Giardia lamblia), but the person may have delayed improvement of his or her Giardia symptoms. If a person does not get better after treatment with several medicines, potential causes of reinfection (such as environmental sources) should be explored.
Keeping well hydrated is important during Giardia treatment. Drinking plenty of fluids is especially important for young children and pregnant women, who may be more susceptible to dehydration resulting from diarrhea.
Treating Giardia in Children
Giardia treatment is not usually necessary when a child has no symptoms of Giardia. However, there are a few exceptions:
- If your child does not have diarrhea but is experiencing nausea, fatigue, weight loss, or a poor appetite, you and your healthcare provider may wish to consider Giardia treatment.
- If your child attends a daycare center where an outbreak is continuing despite efforts to control it, screening and treating children who have no obvious symptoms may be a good idea.
- The same is true if several family members are ill, or if a family member is pregnant and therefore not able to take the most effective anti-Giardia medications.