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Old 12-08-2006   #1
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 207
Chronicles of Giardia

Looks like I've acquired Giardia (again) from boating. It's been four years since then and was hoping that would be the's kind of like being on a slim fast diet when you don't want to lose the weight, fun stuff.

Instead of doing the whole doctor, paying for lab tests, nasty meds thing, I'm thinking of trying to tough it out until it goes away. Has anyone out there been successful in doing this?

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Old 12-08-2006   #2
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
Take the meds, bro. I've had it, not from paddling, but from food in the 3rd world and it's not worth it. If you can get your doc to prescribe Intetrix, I recommend it. Flagyl works for some folks, but I reacted to it pretty poorly and got even sicker. Intetrix had me feeling better in *hours* and I was fully functional about 36-48 hours into the regimen. Good luck.

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Old 12-08-2006   #3
Fort Collins, CO
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 36
I waited 4 or 5 days before going to the Doctor's office and it just got progressively worse. It got to the point were every 20 to 30 minutes I was visiting the restroom. The upside is I lost 10lbs. I took Flagil (sp) and within 12 hours was back to normal.
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Old 12-08-2006   #4
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Get a prescription soon,
I got it from Rock Island (2002) the first time, keep very close to the bathroom for about 1-2 weeks. Took Flagyl and got over it soon after that. One of the side effects can be red urin, so don't be super surprised if you see that, doctor did not mention that when I got the prescription.

2nd time I got it from the headwaters of Fish Creek (2005). Still get the meds, it hurts the 2nd time around too. They gave me something different and it worked well. Apparently once you have gotten the bacteria in your system, there will always be a small amount there. This 2nd time I went from 195lbs down to 175 very quickly. I refer to it as paddling weight, instead of fighting weight.

It's great. You can carry more gear, your boat has more buyancy. Angry hoop sure sucks though. I friend driftwood has gotten so sensitive to his that he won't even paddle X mountain in the spring cause is he gets any splash of water in his mounth, it sets his digestive track off. I hate to take antibiotics but you should definately get help.

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Old 12-08-2006   #5
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
That sounds better than the Atkins diet, and probably more healthy!

Is it true you can develop an immunity to giardia, like my dog did (I think) after he had a few cases where he shat all over the house every 10 minutes?
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Old 12-08-2006   #6
Georgia Moonshine
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 173
Sounds like the Ocoee here in the SE (TN), Buddy of mine worked for years on the abatment of the toxic chemicals in the Ocoee river.

Sounds great, eh?

Well the Co. he worked for did such a good job, that E.coli and a highly antibiotic resitant strain of Staph areous has been a major hassle on the river. With the Toxic chems gone, the bugs just multiply.

Hell, give me the Arsenic and old lace. :P
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Old 12-08-2006   #7
Boatin', Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 201
Don't try and tough it out. It's not worth it. I'm not a fan of doctors offices or for paying them, but there comes a point that you have to. And, I believe, Giardia is one of those times. I too had a decent experience with Intetrix. It wasn't quite the "hours" that Caspian experienced, but it did help.
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Old 12-09-2006   #8
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Lakewood, Colorasta
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 843
Shouldn't you just get Dr. Jen to write you a script? Hopefully this hasn't kept you out of the water. What are you doing? The snow has been pretty good down here. Sorry about the bug. It sucks.

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Old 12-09-2006   #9
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 207
Hey Kent, Ya, you think she could, but she doesn't have much access to prescription forms right now. I'll be boating tomorrow for sure though, just taking more breaks to, erh, stretch the legs.. Hope school is well for you.
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Old 12-09-2006   #10
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Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
Dudes, Giardia is not a bacterium. It is a protist. It has a flagella, thus the proprietary name of the most common antibiotic agent used in its treatment, metronidazole: Flagyl. The shitty thing (bad pun) about giardia is that, unlike bacteria, swallowing even one or two organims can produce intestinal infestation. They are hearty little bastards and will divide and conquer, mitotically that is.

You will continue to shit until you take meds. You will not develop a tolerance to the organism. This can be done with your garden variety travellers diarrhea which is most often caused by a rotavirus (which your body will fight off eventually) or by a strain of E. coli foreign to your gut. In the latter case, you will eventually become "colonized" by the bacteria and the shits will cease. This can take a few weeks or months, depending on your flora. Basically, the different strains of bacteria go to war (this means shits for you) and then when they draw up an armistice and can cohabitate you can again experience the joy of making like Bernie Kozar and taking the Browns to the Super Bowl.

Those little giardia bastards swimming around your colon, on the other hand, are not going away. Your dog may be able to live with it (I'm no vet), but you're not a dog. Your dog can eat all kinds of things you can't. My little bitch pulls cat shit out of the litter box. I'm pretty sure that would make me sick.

Additionally, right now you are shedding organisms every time you shit. The transmission method for giardiasis is fecal-oral. "No one is eating my shit" you say? The world is covered in a thin veneer of feces. Beleive it. In fact, I've read that giardiasis is common in the gay community, transmitted I can only guess by tossing the salad. True? Maybe. Funny? Certainly. So don't let your boyfriend chow down for a while, dig?

Go to the doctor.

I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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