Giardiasis is a widespread disease caused by protozoa (giardia) parasitizing in the human small intestine. Once in the human body, giardia are attached to the walls of the small intestine, from where they receive nutrients and multiply in the intestine in huge quantities.
During their lifetime, giardia repeatedly attach and detach from the intestinal wall, which causes mechanical and toxic damage to the epithelium on the large surface of the intestine.
The structure of the microvilli lining the small intestine is damaged. This leads to a violation of the absorption of nutrients necessary for the development of the child, primarily fats, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K), as well as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, B12, C. Prolonged parasitization of giardia in the body leads to intestinal dysbiosis, impaired liver function, anemia, weight loss, decreased immunity (frequent colds), bronchial asthma, etc.
Clinic, symptoms of the disease
Giardiasis disease can occur in the form of acute or chronic forms.
The acute form of the disease is characterized by liquid watery stools, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, sharp pains in the stomach, bloating of the intestines. A characteristic feature of the acute phase of giardiasis is milk intolerance.
The acute period usually lasts 5-7 days, after which giardiasis most often passes into subacute or chronic stages, which are characterized by short-term exacerbations, manifested primarily by the appearance of loose stools and bloating of the intestine. At the same time, complaints of headache are frequent, there may be weight loss, increased fatigue, allergic reactions. Concomitant intoxication leads to a depressed, depressive state of the patient. It is not by chance that D.F. Lamble called the microorganism he discovered “a parasite of longing and sadness.” Giardiasis can also occur asymptomatically.
Why do children suffer from giardiasis more often?
Chronic forms of giardiasis are observed mainly in preschool children. The reasons for the susceptibility of children to giardia are explained by the immaturity of the immune system; low acidity of the stomach, which is a natural barrier to the penetration of parasites into the body; the presence of chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, occurring with frequent exacerbations; the presence of allergic diseases.
Ways of infection with giardiasis
The source of infection is a person (patient or carrier), as well as an animal. Along with humans, giardiasis affects various types of animals: cows, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc. Transmission of infection is carried out by fecal-oral route. Cysts (an immobile form of giardia existence) are excreted with feces and can persist for a long time in the external environment. So they are stored in water for up to 2 months, resistant to chlorine.
- In a contact-household way, that is, through dirty hands, household items, carpets, toys.
- By water. There is a high risk of getting sick when swimming in open reservoirs and in pools infected with giardia cysts. It should be borne in mind that filters used at home for water purification do not delay giardia cysts. Therefore, it is advisable to boil water for drinking.
- By food. Infection can be carried out through the use of unwashed vegetables, fruits, berries, leafy greens contaminated with feces containing giardia cysts.
How is giardiasis treated?
To diagnose giardiasis, it is necessary to study feces, as well as an immunological examination of blood. Medicinal treatment of giardiasis is prescribed when the pathogen is detected and there are clinical manifestations.
Getting rid of giardia must necessarily begin with a diet, since the normal functioning of giardia in the small intestine depends on the state of the digestive system.
So fasting dramatically reduces the number of giardia in the body. A protein diet (meat, fish, eggs, nuts) depresses the parasite.
Exclude bread, bakery products, cereals, pasta, sweets, etc. from the diet, since food rich in carbohydrates contributes to a sharp increase in the number of giardia in the intestine.
During treatment, it is recommended:
- Exclude from the child’s diet: sweet, fatty, fried, milk, rye bread. Include in the diet: cereals, baked apples and pears, sour berries (cranberries, cranberries), vegetable oil, garlic, beets, carrots, cabbage, dried fruits, boiled fish and meat.
- Carefully perform hygienic measures (washing hands after going to the toilet, treating toilet bowls with boiling water after each act of defecation).
How not to get giardiasis?! Preventive measures
- Personal hygiene. Washing hands with soap before eating, after going to the toilet, after visiting public places.
- Neutralization of drinking water by boiling.
- Thorough washing in running water and subsequent scalding with boiling water of vegetables, fruits, berries and leafy greens.
- Periodic cleaning of premises and change of underwear and bed linen.
- Regular deworming and anti – giardiasis treatment of pets