No drug can prevent giardia infection. But common-sense precautions can go a long way toward reducing the chances that you'll become infected or spread the infection to others.

  • Wash your hands. This is the simplest and best way to prevent most kinds of infection. Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers and before eating or preparing food. When soap and water aren't available, alcohol-based sanitizers are an excellent alternative.
  • Purify wilderness water. Avoid drinking untreated water from shallow wells, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds and streams unless you filter it or boil it for at least 10 minutes at 158 F (70 C) first.
  • Keep your mouth closed. Try not to swallow water when swimming in pools, lakes or streams.
  • Use bottled water. When traveling to parts of the world where the water supply is likely to be unsafe, drink and brush your teeth with bottled water that you open yourself. Don't use ice, and avoid raw fruits and vegetables, even those you peel yourself.
  • Practice safer sex. If you engage in anal sex, use a condom every time. Avoid oral-anal sex unless you're fully protected.
Nov. 14, 2012