Are you at risk for Giardiasis?
Well, if you have an RV, the short answer is unfortunately “Yes”.
Your stomach is cramping, you’ve got aches and your fatigued. You decide you’ve caught a stomach bug and start disinfecting your camper. Like you anticipated, other family members start coming down with the same symptoms. Living in tight quarters, you start to suspect you have Norovirus, or the Cruise Ship bug, and you break out even more bleach.
But the bug never goes away and you start to notice the symptoms are becoming very pronounced. Explosive diarrhea, lots of vomiting, loss of appetite, bloated abdomen and my personal favorite – burps that can clear a room! Now you know, your family is not traveling alone anymore!
Giardiasis (beaver fever) in humans is caused by the infection of the small intestine by a single-celled parasitic organism called Giardia lamblia.
It can enter your camper through your fresh water connection and is impervious to low temperatures.
To protect yourself, attach a filter with a micron rating of 3 or less to your outside connection and add a teaspoon of bleach to a 40 gallon fresh water tank.
If you suspect you have Giardiasis, seek medical attention promptly, as prolonged cases can cause chronic illness.
Thoroughly disinfect your entire water system (tanks and pipes). Iodine is your best defense against giardiasis, but household bleach will work too, as does boiling.
It is never advisable to drink straight from a stream or outdoor water source without proper filtration and water treatment.
And as always, hand washing goes a long way in keeping your traveling family healthy – so soap up often!
REPRINTED FROM FULLTIME FAMILIES MAGAZINE - JUNE 2011 Issue 14