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Giardia treatment?

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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby oldranger » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:51 am

Maverick,

Oh sh*t! Does that mean my 151 doesn't work internally either?

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!



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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:46 pm

I have a growing list of confirmed Giardia cases - my current total is 14, including someone's dog, all contracted between 5,000 - 10,000 feet elevation in the Sierra Nevada.

That's just cases I am aware of in my general circle of 100-200 hikers in my group, plus two backpackers who post frequently on one of the backpacking forums. A little too high a number for my comfort.
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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:09 pm

AlmostThere wrote:
I have a growing list of confirmed Giardia cases - my current total is 14, including
someone's dog, all contracted between 5,000 - 10,000 feet elevation in the
Sierra Nevada.

That's just cases I am aware of in my general circle of 100-200 hikers in my group,
plus two backpackers who post frequently on one of the backpacking forums. A
little too high a number for my comfort.


Really wonder if this has to do with a lot of people are under the false assumption
that they can fore go washing hands, and just use a hand sanitizer. Even in the food
industry for our sanitation classes we are taught that hand sanitizers can only be
used after washing hands, if at all.
There where just some major illness due to the Norovirus in a few schools in the Bay
Area for example, and sanitizers are not effective against this virus either.
With just having to squirt some sanitizer after the deed, instead of washing ones
hands, may be more convenient/quicker, but does make the chances of contracting
Giardia go way up.
I did say people, before someone mentions the dog.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby rlown » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:16 pm

I've filtered water all my life.. so have my friends.. no obvious connection between hand sanitizers, as we never carried any.. No stomach issues of any kind.. Maybe because we all fish and our hands are wet/washed all day long.. i live with dogs.. they wouldn't be the problem.. as long as you wash your hands after you clean up after them.. :o
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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:21 pm

I've always been given to understand that the transitory stomach upsets that can happen on the trail are what's attributed to poor hygiene.

Giardia usually comes along somewhere around 8-10 days after ingestion of the contaminated water and can be much, much more severe - sometimes requiring hospitalization and definitely requiring some antibiotics. Whereas the stomach bug brought on by unwashed hands resolves itself.
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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby rlown » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:25 pm

AlmostThere wrote:I've always been given to understand that the transitory stomach upsets that can happen on the trail are what's attributed to poor hygiene.

Giardia usually comes along somewhere around 8-10 days after ingestion of the contaminated water and can be much, much more severe - sometimes requiring hospitalization and definitely requiring some antibiotics. Whereas the stomach bug brought on by unwashed hands resolves itself.


What are you advocating?
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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:02 am

I'm advocating nothing. I'm curious why hand sanitation came into a conversation about Giardia, because I have never heard that it had anything to do with contracting it. I've heard that people will mistake the sorts of germ activity caused by poor kitchen habits for a Giardia infection, however.

Given the life cycle of Giardia, (http://www.stanford.edu/class/humbio103 ... ecycle.htm), if you are contracting it from poor hand sanitation, either you are shedding cysts yourself and already have it, or you need to stop handling poop from other sources. And wash your hands more often.
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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby markskor » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:13 am

AlmostThere wrote: I'm curious why hand sanitation came into a conversation about Giardia, because I have never heard that it had anything to do with contracting it.

Poor hygiene has everything to do with giardia transmission. All it takes is one member of your hiking party who did not wash his hands properly before cooking up a community meal, or the burger boy who did not wash up before making your lunch at some 395 burger joint...or...

As I understand it, ~20% of the earth's population (maybe more?) acts as a natural host/harbors giardia with no symptoms ever shown - transmitters with natural immunity? Giardia is also ubiquitous - everywhere (in every city's water supply), but in such small concentrations that it is almost impossible to contact from tap water.

Research shows that the worst Sierra water is typically found at Trail Camp but even up there you would have to drink 200 gallons in a day to even have a 50% chance of contracting this pest ...BTW, much higher concentrations of giardia are allowed in San Diego's municipal water supply.

Filter, use chemicals, or utilize a Steripen if that's what makes you feel safer, but you cannot filter, treat, of zap anything that is not there in high enough concentrations to begin with.
Additionally, Giardia does not overwinter where snow is prevalent - cold kills even the cysts when subjected to temperatures at or below freezing after 30 days. With our typical Sierra winters, thus giardia has to be re-introduced each season at high altitude and can only be transmitted anew through a complex, reproductive life-cycle passed on/thru by mammals: deer, beavers (a lot of beavers up there?), and cows, horses/mules, which seem to the primary Sierra hosts for giardia Sierra transmission other than from humans. Research also shows that all horses (~10%) and mules (~15%) pass giardia daily and these trail biscuits are the primary agent by which giardia is re-introduced yearly. (Maybe mandating those horse diapers would be a good thing as all too often see piles of droppings where stock crosses water.)

Lastly, I recall the words of one of my UCLA Parasite professors: "There has not been one case of giardia that has been totally 100% attributed to someone merely drinking high altitude Sierra water...(poor hygiene is always suspect instead".) Being as it takes 10 - 14 days after consuming high enough concentrations of giardia to show symptoms, how do you really know where you got it?

Wash your hands!

Mark (MS Parasitology UCLA, 1975)
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:37 pm

I'm just puzzled. Pretty much everyone I've backpacked with uses a long handled spoon and eats out of a bag, not handling anyone else's food, and yet I personally know too many people who have had giardia hiking only in the Sierra Nevada?

Sure, okay, whatever.
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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby quentinc » Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:34 pm

There are quite a number of cases of Giardiasas for PCT thru-hikers after going through the F&G sections (roughly from the 14 Freeway (southwest of Palmdale) to Kennedy Meadows), and it's almost certainly cattle that are to blame. I doubt that people's hand sanitation somehow deteriorates as they go through those sections only.

Lucky for me, the symptoms have been quite mild and are almost gone. Even the other time I mingled with Giardia, the symptoms were nowhere near as bad as what I hear about. Still, not happy about it....
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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby freestone » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:44 pm

Research shows that the worst Sierra water is typically found at Trail Camp


I would think this location would have a fecal contamination problem as well. None the less, I was there solo, and drank the water untreated at the base of the switchbacks with no ill effects. I did however, try to keep it under 200 gallons!

There are quite a number of cases of Giardiasas for PCT thru-hikers after going through the F&G sections (roughly from the 14 Freeway (southwest of Palmdale) to Kennedy Meadows), and it's almost certainly cattle that are to blame. I doubt that people's hand sanitation somehow deteriorates as they go through those sections only.


As for the PCHers, the contamination of giardia could have happen 2 weeks prior to entering the high country, somewhere south of Palmdale, although I have heard that the tap water at Kennedy is suspect. There is also Hiker Town in Palmdale where there is a whole lot of sharing going on.

We are constantly touching our face and private parts as in wiping the sweat from our brow after taking a leak.
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Re: Giardia treatment?

Postby TahoeSarah » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:49 pm

Years back, i was diagnosed with the dreaded giardia, took a course of flagyl, but a few days after the first course of meds was done, the signature symptoms came right back. Doc said flagyl often requires a 2nd course, which i did, and that took care of it. He read to me right out of his reference book that flagyl often requires two courses. So if you only completed one course and it came back, you may need a second. I had no side effects at all from the flagyl.
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