Canada is known for our high quality of living, fresh air and crystal clear water. However, our water is not always as clean as it seems. Harmful parasites such as Giardia have previously been found by Health Canada in our drinking water. Though only a small fraction of these parasites appeared to be capable of infecting humans, their actual ability to infect was not able to be determined.

What is Giardiasis?

Giardiasis is a disease caused by microscopic parasites called Giardia, which can live in the intestines of mammals, including humans. Giardiasis is a common waterborne disease that is also called “Beaver fever”, a reference to an outbreak of Giardiasis among hikers in Banff National Park who became ill from drinking water that had been contaminated with Giardia from beavers.

What are the symptoms of Giardiasis?

Giardiasis causes a variety of unpleasant intestinal symptoms including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating, gas and/or flatulence
  • Greasy stool
  • Stomach or abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

Symptoms typically last between 2 and 6 weeks, but can last longer. Prolonged infection can lead to a variety of complications such as intestinal cell damage or arthritis. Asymptomatic individuals (people who have been infected but show no symptoms) are still contagious. If you show any symptoms of Giardiasis or believe you have been infected contact your physician immediately.

How is Giardiasis spread?

Giardiasis is typically spread through contaminated water sources. Drinking contaminated water, touching your mouth with contaminated hands or placing contaminated objects in your mouth are all ways that Giardiasis can be spread.

How can I prevent Giardiasis?

Though all drinking water in Canada is treated by municipal water treatment plants installing a UV or Reverse Osmosis water filtration system in your home and office can offer an extra layer of protection. These systems will kill parasites like Giardiasis should your drinking water become infected. You can also avoid contracting and spreading Giardiasis by properly washing your hands after you use the washroom, change a diaper, come in contact with animals, work in the garden and before and after handling food.

For more information about UV and Reverse Osmosis water filtration systems, or to request a quote, call Lone Star Plumbing and Heating today at 403.295.3028 and visit an expert Calgary plumber today.

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