A Common Reason For Travel Clinic Visits: Beaver Fever or Giardia Infection
Remaining healthy on long journeys can be very difficult. Hidden in lush foliage there are viruses borne by insects, and emerging from a hotel’s faucet is bacteria that can lay you up for weeks. One of most common illnesses that traveler’s come down with while on vacation is called giardia. To help you once infected by this debilitating sickness-or to help you remain illness free while overseas-contact a travel clinic.
What is Giardia & How is it Spread?
Giardia is a microscopic parasite that is common in both animals (including cats and dogs) and humans. Giardia causes giardiasis, which is sometimes referred to as Beaver Fever. It is a diarrheal disease and is common overseas and in the United States.
Once the parasite is ingested it lives in the intestines and is passed to the next person (or animal) through feces. When outside the body the disease can last for months, making it difficult to eradicate. It is easily passed on from one host to another.
By visiting a travel clinic you can learn all the ways in which giardia is spread. These include:
• Ingesting under cooked food that contains the organism
• Touching things like bathroom door handles
• A visit to a farm or anywhere animals reside
• Swallowing drinking water or using ice cubes made from infected water
• Swallowing miniscule amounts of infected lake water or pool water.
• Social contact with someone who is infected
• Traveling to countries where giardia infection is common. These countries/geographical areas include Mexico, Central America, South America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere on the globe including all of Europe and North America. It would seem the spindly hand of giardia infection creeps across the entire world.
Symptoms typically begin one to three weeks after infection occurs and can last for longer than six weeks. Receiving treatment from a certified travel clinic can shorten this cycle. It is time to visit a travel clinic if you begin suffering from any of the following symptoms:
• Stomach and/or abdominal cramps
• Excessive gas
• Greasy-type stool that tends to float
A stool sample is typically collected for analysis. There are several very effective prescription drugs that can be used for giardia treatment. The fact is that tons of people who travel acquire this parasite. Diarrhea is awful when it lasts a day or two-six weeks or more is downright torturous.
If preparing a journey overseas, it is highly recommended that you visit a travel clinic. Depending on where you are traveling to vaccinations may be required for entry. This is certainly true of the yellow fever vaccination. Many countries will only grant entry with a certificate proving a recent yellow fever inoculation.