Preventing Giardiasis

Consumers can prevent giardiasis by:

Minimizing Your Risk

Wash your hands

  • Wash hands after using the bathroom and changing diapers, and before handling or eating any food.

  • Make sure that persons with diarrhea, especially children, wash their hands carefully and frequently with soap to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating.

  • Always wash hands after contact with farm animals, pets, animal feces, and animal environments.

  • Hand Hygiene
    Wash Your Hands!

Avoid swallowing recreational water

  • Recreational water is water in swimming pools, hot tubs, jacuzzis, fountains, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, or streams that can be contaminated with sewage or feces from humans or animals.

  • Healthy Swimming
    CDC; Contains information on recreational waterborne illnesses. Attention: Non-MDH link

Use caution when traveling

  • Avoid using ice or drinking water when traveling in countries where the water supply might be unsafe.

  • Avoid eating uncooked foods when traveling in countries with minimal water treatment and sanitation systems.

Avoid drinking untreated water

  • Untreated water can come from shallow wells, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, and streams.

If you are unable to avoid drinking water that might be contaminated, then treat the water yourself by:

  • Heating the water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute.


  • Using a filter that has an absolute pore size of at least 1 micron or one that has been NSF-rated for "cyst removal."

  • Preventing Cryptosporidiosis:
    A Guide to Water Filters and Bottled Water

    CDC. Attention: Non-MDH link
    • This information also applies to Giardia.

  • If the above methods cannot be used, then try chemical inactivation of Giardia by chlorination or iodination. Chemical disinfection may be less effective than other methods because it is highly dependent on the temperature, pH, and cloudiness of the water.

Be careful when dealing with animals

  • Always wash hands after contact with farm animals, pets, animal feces, and animal environments.

Avoid fecal exposure

  • Especially during sexual intercourse

Do you suspect that you have a foodborne illness? Visit reporting suspected foodborne illnesses.


Updated Tuesday, 16-Nov-2010 12:21:12 CST