Preventing Giardiasis - Minnesota Dept. of Health

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. This is particularly important in daycare/preschool settings, where many outbreaks have occurred due to person-to-person spread.
  • Always wash hands after contact with farm animals, pets, animal feces, and animal environments.
  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating.

  • Hand Hygiene
    Learn more about the importance of handwashing and the proper way to wash hands.

Avoid swallowing recreational water

  • Recreational water is water in swimming pools, hot tubs, splash pads, 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."
  • 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.

  • A Guide to Drinking Water Treatment and Sanitation for Backcountry & Travel Use
    CDC: Guide to help travelers and backcountry water users effectively treat their drinking water. Attention: Non-MDH link

Be careful when dealing with animals

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

  • Giardia and Pets
    CDC: Protect yourself against getting Giardia from animals. Attention: Non-MDH link

Avoid fecal exposure

  • Avoid fecal exposure, especially during sexual intercourse

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


Updated Tuesday, 14-Nov-2017 14:10:47 CST