The Shocking Summer Stomach Bug To Watch Out For

Summer is here and, for many people, that means breaking out the sprinklers and jumping into pools to stay cool. Before making a splash, however, you might want to make sure you're not at risk for a common summer bug that many people don't know about. 

This pesky little bug is giardia, which spreads easily and is often found in large bodies of water like pools and lakes. And unlike most other summer diseases, it doesn't make you sneeze or sniffle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it can send you running to the bathroom with either diarrhea or vomiting. Gas and fatigue are also common symptoms of giardiasis, the disease caused by giardia. Worse yet, children suffering from giardiasis — which in some cases can persist for weeks and cause long-term complications — are at risk for malnutrition and developmental problems. Other long-term issues can include dehydration, IBS, recurrent diarrhea, or reactive arthritis.

As serious as giardiasis sounds, it's not uncommon. According to a Health interview with infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, outbreaks "happen every summer," a statement supported by the CDC. Of course, this doesn't mean that people are aware of the risk when they jump into their local pool. Or, when they join a game show based on the favorite summer toy, the Slip 'N Slide. 

What to look for

According to The Wrap, 40 crew members on the set of "Ultimate Slip 'N Slide" were hit with "explosive diarrhea." After several tests it was revealed that all were suffering from giardiasis. And though testing of the site couldn't locate a contamination source, production was halted until an uninfected filming location could be found.

Diarrhea is a common symptom of giardiasis, according to the CDC. But there is an early warning sign: In the first stages of giardia infection, a person will have loose stool that is greasy-looking and, usually, floats. Examining the contents of a toilet bowl might not be fun, but if those bathroom trips are paired with fatigue that keeps getting worse, it's worth it to take a look.

Luckily, in most cases giardiasis clears up on its own in two to six weeks with plenty of rest and hydration. But if symptoms become more severe or lasting, be sure to seek help from a medical professional.