Thursday, March 18, 2010

Watch Out For Giardiasis This Spring!

Image from


This beautiful spring weather has everyone in a great mood.  Yesterday, I was so excited to take Henry to the park.  I brought a blanket and a bunch of toys.  I planned to put him in the swing, let him play on the slides and then play by the dog run.

My plans were thwarted when Henry refused to sit in the swing.  All he wanted to do was crawl around in the grass.  Normally I'd be thrilled to let him romp around in the dirt, but there is dog poo everywhere.  Chicago dogs rule the parks, and it is painfully evident when the snow melts and months of frozen poo resurface and defrost.  I would be less paranoid if Henry was walking.  Plus he's a thumb sucker.  I found myself wiping his hands every 5 seconds.  I was so frustrated that I couldn't let him play with sticks, etc.  I am very much looking forward to having my own dog-poo-free yard.  

If you think I'm a freak, check out the articles below on how people get sick from feces.  I'm not saying parks are bad, I love parks.  But for a crawling toddler who puts everything in his mouth, it makes me very uncomfortable.  Our park does have a recycled tire floor under the playset and swings, however, it's terrible for crawlers as it burns their knees and wears down their clothes.  So obviously, next time we take a trip to the park, Henry will wear crappy clothes with knee pads.  Yay for fun!

I'm really not an alarmist.  Really.

Here is some info from the CDC website:

What is giardiasis?

Giardiasis (GEE-are-DYE-uh-sis) is a diarrheal illness caused by a microscopic parasite, Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia or Giardia duodenalis). Once a person or animal has been infected with Giardia, the parasite lives in the intestine and is passed in feces. Because the parasite is protected by an outer shell, it can survive outside the body and in the environment for long periods of time (i.e., months).
During the past 2 decades, Giardia infection has become recognized as a common cause of waterborne disease in humans in the United States. Giardia can be found worldwide and within every region of the United States.

How do you get giardiasis and how is it spread?
The Giardia parasite lives in the intestine of infected humans or animals (e.g., cats, dogs, cattle, deer, and beavers). Millions of germs can be released in a bowel movement of an infected human or animal. Giardia is found on surfaces or in soil, food, or water that has been contaminated with the feces from infected humans or animals. You can become infected after accidentally swallowing the parasite; you cannot become infected through contact with blood. Giardia can be spread by:
  • Accidentally swallowing Giardia picked up from surfaces (such as bathroom fixtures, changing tables, diaper pails, or toys) contaminated with feces from an infected person or animal.
  • Drinking water or using ice made from contaminated sources (e.g., lakes, streams, shallow [less than 50 feet] or poorly monitored or maintained wells).
  • Swallowing recreational water contaminated with Giardia. Recreational water includes water in swimming pools, water parks, hot tubs or spas, fountains, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, or streams that can be contaminated with feces or sewage from humans or animals.
  • Eating uncooked food contaminated with Giardia.
  • Having contact with someone who is ill with giardiasis.
  • Traveling to countries where giardiasis is common and being exposed to the parasite as described in the bullets above.
What are the symptoms of giardiasis?

Giardia infection can cause a variety of intestinal signs or symptoms, which include
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas or flatulence
  • Greasy stools that tend to float
  • Stomach or abdominal cramps
  • Upset stomach or nausea
These symptoms may lead to weight loss and dehydration. Some people with Giardia infection have no symptoms at all.

Giardiasis is highly contagious.

See also:


  1. As a respectful dog owner, there are few people in the world I hate more than owners who don't pick up after their dog. It's gross and it makes the rest of us look really bad.

    I'd love to know what exactly they're thinking. Why they feel it's okay to leave it in a public park like that. They probably feel to important to pick it up.

    People out here in CA are pretty vigilant. At dog parks if there's a dog pooping and nobody is waiting with a bag, people will say something. So if you see somebody just leaving it behind, feel free to let them have it.

    Now, onto my list of people I hate more:
    Sarah Palin
    Sarah Jessica Parker (I Challenge anyone to explain her appeal to me)
    People who don't tip
    Guys who talk about the gym
    Your brother, Mike

  2. Canine giardiasis has been a big problem in Montreal lately. People seem to think that picking up dog doo is beneath them. But then, people here also seem to think that clowns are the height of art and unicycles are the ultimate conveyance.