Has anyone had any problems with Giardia getting on or in the tube from your hydration system while paddling, rolling etc?

Is this less likely to be an issue in salt water?

I do not believe that it is possible for
the organism to live in salt water (especilly since chlorine is one of the water treatment methods). But everywhere else, it exists. Not just in backcountry waters, everywhere; cats are bad with it. And it only takes the ingestion of ONE cyst to cause the infestation. So, if it is in the water and you put your drinking tube in the water, then it can be on your drinking tube. But if your hand gets wet while paddling and you touch your mouth – same, same. Or, if you roll, unless you have some really special techniques, your mouth comes in direct contact with the water. The cyst can survive in wet or dry, hot or cold. All that aside, there is no need to go crazy about it. Kids are more succeptible than adults; some people can be carriers and not ever suffer symptoms; it takes 7-10 days for the infestation to bring on sysmptoms (so unless you are on some sort of epic journey, you will generally be back home an close to medical help when you get the #&^%s; even without medical help it generally only lasts about a week and it is rarely fatal. Padlle on, roll, and be happy. But, at the same time be smart.

I hate to be a killjoy
but the potential DOES exist. A friend contracted Giardiasis from snorkeling in infested water.

One way to minimize exposure is to use a Camelback bite valve cover. It is not perfect, but would help minimize exposure.


If you can catch cholera from saltwater
I’m guessing you can catch giardia.

I caught giardia down in Puerto Rico one year. Had to take Flagyl to get rid of it. The cure was worse than the disease.

OK does it die
Does it die once the tube or whatever has dried out, or does it come back to life once wet again? I’m wondering if I should use a wash with bleach or something after the tube, water bottle or whatever has been exposed.

It’s nice to know it takes a week or so to do it’s damage.

One cyst? I don’t think so.

– Last Updated: Feb-04-06 11:10 AM EST –

That's like saying that you're going to contract a disease from contact with one bacterium or virus. While it's theoretically possible, it's extremely unlikely. If that were the case, we'd all be sick all the time. We are in contact with millions to billions of microorganisms every single day, many of which are potentially pathological. Most bodies of fresh water in the US contain giardia and/or cryptosporidium, not to mention a host of other common nasties like E-coli. Considering the hundreds of millions of exposures that occur annually in the US, if you were correct, Giadiasis would be a rampant epidemic among the US population.

Our bodies' external and internal defenses are quite adept at dealing with infectios organisms and preventing them from ever reaching harmful levels in our bodies. Infections are the exception to the rule, not the norm.

Giardia is a freshwater organism
Here’s a link that hopefully will dispel rumors, speculation and hysteria over giardia:

This to shall pass.

It’s a durable organism
Cysts like giardia are can go dormant when conditions are too dry for them to grow and multiply, then become active again when conditions are favorable. If you don’t kill them or wash them out of your hydration system, they have the potential to become active again. I wouldn’t stress out over it, just use water from a known clean source or that’s been properly filtered/treated and keep your hydration containers clean. You’re probably doing both already, which is more than enough.

Keep in mind that some exposure to bacteria is actually a good thing. It provides “exercise” for your immune system and keeps it strong, just as with exercising your muscles. Study after study has shown that people who live on farms - where they’re constantly exposed to a wide variety of bacteria and other microoganisms - have a much stronger immune systems and lower instances of allergies and asthma. Paradoxically, living in an overly sterile environment can actually make you more prone to becoming infected with or allergic to whatever you do come in contact with.

You should be even more concerned
with getting dihyrodgen monoxide (DHMO) on your hydration tube from the ocean or rivers and lakes.

Almost the entire ocean is contaminated with DHMO which is one of the deadliest killers known to man.

For more infomation, you can go to

girdiasis/beaver fever
from what i know, and it’s a fair bit, i’d have to say that Brian’s postings are very accurate. it is prevalent and robust but still you are not all that likely to get it from modest exposure and with a little care, it can be all but prevented.

also, the cyst is somewhat heavy and does sink to the bottom. most surface waters will not have the giardia cysts floating around in them unless disturbed. i know people who have drank untreated wilderness lake water for years with no ill effect. i was one of those, yet i have contracted confirmed giardiasis and it was from a small lake that had too much canoe traffic on it, churning up the landings. the outfitter i guided for didn’t provide any treatment options and since the clients were drinking, so did i, against my better judgement from this lake. 10 days later, i became ill rather quickly and had the tell tale ‘sulphur burps’ (extremely disgusting- like farting at the mouth…) my case was mild and 2 days on the flage and i was cured…

i’ve also gulped plenty of water in paddling (and occasionally swimming…) rapids, shit happens, eh?


– Last Updated: Feb-04-06 3:00 PM EST –

The ocean is not contaminated with DHMO, it is comprised of DHMO, since DHMO is H20. is a hoax.

Edit, adding another link:

From now on, waterdoc…
…please close caption your posts for the humor impared.

agreed load iv important
while in theory one virus can give you a cold or aids or… it’s the load and your immune system that matters.

What makes it even funnier is
that Donny doesn’t know what I do for a living. I own an industrial water treatment company and my degree is in chemistry. LOL.

One more link…
and I’m done.

Another reason I bought a NRS drysuit
Why worry all day about contamination by DHMO (which is colorless, odorless, and tasteless so you might not even know it’s on you) when you can just get a NRS drysuit? The salesman told me that the NRS Triton was specifically designed to REPEL DHMO!!! $675 is a BARGAIN for that kind of peace of mind.

Pets and giardia
There is a vaccine against giardia, available for dogs. Don’t know if it’s for cats.

My two dogs get the vaccine because they go hiking in critter country too often (every day) to take the chance on doing without it.

I asked my vet if people could get the vaccine and he said as far as he knew, there was no such thing. I wonder why.

Diarrhea is actually hereditary
Runs in your jeans…sorry

Problem with giardia, a protozoan
is that unlike most bacteria, its infectious load is fairly low. It is believed that only about 10 cysts are required for infection and illness.