Giardia infection is almost never fatal in industrialized countries, but it can cause lingering symptoms and serious complications, especially in infants and children. The most common complications include:

  • Dehydration. Often a result of severe diarrhea, dehydration occurs when the body doesn't have enough water to carry out its normal functions.
  • Failure to thrive. Chronic diarrhea from giardia infection can lead to malnutrition and harm children's physical and mental development.
  • Lactose intolerance. Many people with giardia infection develop lactose intolerance — the inability to properly digest milk sugar. The problem may persist long after the infection has cleared.
Nov. 14, 2012