There are plenty of things which can affect the gastrointestinal health of the body, with the giardia parasite being one of them.

It can grow in the intestines of infected humans or animals and cause the condition giardiasis.

You can get this through direct contact with infected people or animals, or from swallowing contaminated water, food or drinks.

Here's all you need to know about giardiasis, including its symptoms and how to avoid spreading it.

What are the symptoms related to giardia?

The NHS website states that the main symptoms of giardiasis are:

  • smelly diarrhoea
  • tummy pain or cramps
  • farting (flatulence)
  • smelly burps – they may smell like eggs
  • bloating
  • weight loss

Additionally, people can have giardiasis and spread it to others without having any symptoms.

Individuals should ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if they have had diarrhoea for more than seven days or if they've had bloody diarrhoea or bleeding from your bottom.

How do you treat giardiasis?

A GP may send off a sample of your poo for tests to check if you have giardiasis.

The NHS adds: "It's treated with antibiotics. Your symptoms should stop in about a week, but they can sometimes last longer.

"Sometimes the people you live with may also need to be tested and treated."

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How do you avoid spreading giardiasis?

The NHS recommends washing your hands with soap and water frequently as an important step to stop the spread of the parasite, alongside cleaning surfaces regularly.

Additionally, people should separate clothing and bedding that may be contaminated from other laundry and wash it on a hot wash.

For things to not do, the health service urges people to not prepare food for others, share items such as towels or utensils with others and to not use a swimming pool until two weeks after your symptoms stop.