Navigating Spring’s Waters: Hydration, Recreation, and the Risk of Giardia

The Importance of Timely Antibiotic Intervention

Even crystal clear water can conceal hidden hazards.

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Antibiotic Intervention Secondary Image

Spring Brings water, water brings risks. 

With spring in full swing and temperatures rising, our thirst (pun intended) for water grows as well. This applies to both the need to stay hydrated and the desire to cool off in our pools, lakes and rivers. As we welcome this wave of water in our lives, it’s important to remember that exposure to hidden perils, such as water-borne illnesses like Giardia, also rises.

 

 

Giardia is the most common intestinal parasitic disease in the U.S. and affects about 1 million people a year.

 

Just how easy is it to get infected?

Giardia spreads very easily. While most commonly contracted through exposure to contaminated water, it can also be spread through contaminated food, surfaces, objects, and even exposure to a person infected with the parasite.

It’s not only potentially contaminated drinking water sources you have to worry about when camping or spending time in the outdoors, but also natural and man-made bodies of water you may use for swimming or water sports (lakes, ponds rivers, streams, public water supplies, wells, cisterns, swimming pools, water parks and spas).

Faucets can provide a false sense of security. Also of high concern is questionable tap water in certain areas you may travel to. Even if you don’t drink it, you may still likely use it for brushing your teeth or showering – which can potentially expose you to Giardia just the same.

What can you do? The best thing you can do to mitigate exposure is be cautious of the sources of the water you consume, and be aware of the potential animals in the surroundings of the water you swim and play in – as they likely use that water too.

Bring your own drinking water or only consume bottled water in places you travel to. If you must use tap water for drinking in a location you are unsure of, then boil the water, use a water filter, or purification tablets.

What if I get exposed to Giardia? Fortunately Giardia infection is not fatal, but can lead to complications in certain individuals if not treated. Reactive arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and recurring diarrhea that can last for years are among the worst prognoses one can be diagnosed with.

 

 

Exposure Rates are High, Effective Treatment is Available

Metronidazole for Treatment of Giardia Infections:

The good news is treatment for Giardiasis exists and is very effective. Metronidazole is the most common and potent medication for Giardia infection, but is not available over the counter. A 5-7 day course of Metronidazole tablets is usually enough to eliminate the infection and its symptoms in over 90% of patients.

Why you should have Metronidazole on hand:

In addition to treating parasitic Giardia infections, Metronidazole is also used to treat certain skin infections, rosacea, oral infections including infected gums or dental abscesses, and bacterial vaginosis and pelvic inflammatory infections.

While you can’t pick up Metronidazole at the store on your family weekend getaway, you can have it with you in our Jase Case, as one of the standard medications our kits come with.

Each standard Jase Case also comes with medications for other infections and illnesses including pneumonia, sinus infection, urinary tract infections, traveller’s diarrhea, Lyme disease, skin, infections and more.

And you can customize your Jase Case with over 30 available add on medications from EpiPens (anaphylaxis), to Ivermectin (parasitic infections), to treat just about anything you may encounter from Influenza (Oseltamivir) to Malaria (Atovaquone-Proguanil).

If there were a prescription for peace of mind, it would be a Jase Case.

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Silent Pandemic – Antibiotic Resistance

A dire warning from health leaders across the world are calling the silent pandemic- antimicrobial resistant (AMR) infections. According to the World Health Organization AMR is one of the top ten leading global threats to health facing humanity in the world.

CDC estimates about 47 million antibiotic courses are prescribed for infections that don’t need antibiotics, like colds and the flu, each year. That adds up to approximately 28% of all antibiotics prescribed. In addition, A study published in the Lancet found that antimicrobial resistance was the direct cause of 1.27 million deaths worldwide.

An ever-increasing number of bacteria, fungi and parasites are becoming resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics, with some resistant to many different antibiotics.  In some cases, antibiotics are not effective, leading to impossible to treat infections. This is a chilling scenario we are facing.

Antibiotic resistance (AMR) occurs through either genetic mutation or by acquiring resistance genes- where the antibiotic resistance genes are transferred to the next generation.

Some of the most widespread and common examples include:

  • methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (The most common)
  • vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
  • multi-drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MDR-TB)
  • carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) gut bacteria

Broad spectrum antibiotics- The good and the bad

Broad spectrum antibiotics are being used in more and more AMR cases. These are antibiotics that act on the two major bacterial groups, gram-positive and gram-negative or any antibiotic that acts against a wide range of disease-causing bacteria. They are lifesaving when no other antibiotic therapy is working.

 They do come, however with their own set of whole set of detrimental, long lasting health effects. Some of these include resistance to pathogens, altered gut microbiota and immune system dysfunction. This is especially detrimental in young children. Broad spectrum antibiotics can alter gut microbiota which in turn will disrupt and affect immune function and growth of the child.

Promising research to fight antibiotic resistance

A protein in antibiotic resistant bacteria called DsbA helps fold resistance proteins into the right shapes to neutralize antibiotics. This was discovered by researchers, including experts from Imperial College London, led by Dr Despoina Mavridou assistant professor in Molecular Biosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. By disrupting the DBsA protein the team was successful in neutralizing the antibiotic resistant protein. In addition the pathogen was more sensitive to common antibiotics. As of this writing, research has been limited to outside the human body. The team now plans on finding an inhibitor that can be safely used in humans providing the same effect.

How to prevent AMR

Until research can successfully develop therapies for AMR, staying healthy and using antibiotics only when necessary are our options. Also, avoid crowds during outbreaks. And if sick, stay home!

The most effective way to prevent AMR is to boost immune system through:

  • Quality sleep- Sleep is when the body actively heals and restores health. Practice sleep hygiene
  • Exercise- At least 30 minutes several times a week of active walking or other form of exercise can help boost immune system, regulate mood and decrease appetite
  • Avoid sugar-Sugar and refined carbohydrates help feed pathogenic bacteria
  • Vitamin D (with k2)- Vitamin D supports a strong immune system. Talk with your healthcare provider about vitamin D supplementation and checking vitamin D levels to make sure you are reaching optimum vitamin D levels
  • Avoid and manage stress- Deep breathing exercises can help when unable to avoid stressful situations.
  • Practice personal hygiene- wash hands after going to store, before eating, and any time your are exposed to anyone who is ill.

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

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After the Floodwaters Recede-Be Aware of Post-Flood Diseases

(Don’t be caught without your Jase Case)

California is again being slammed with record rainfall, mud and rockslides are forcing road closures. Widespread evacuations are still in place across the state. Snowfall is continuing to plague the Sierra mountains leaving many stranded without available help due to the amount of snow making roads impassable.

 In addition:

  • Water restrictions have ended for the 7 million residents in the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. These residents had endured one of the most long and fierce droughts in recent history.
  • As of Tuesday, March 15, Santa Barbara County cancelled evacuation orders and issued warnings for residents to remain vigilant with some areas still flooding, rock and mudslide hazards and potential for more storm related damage.
  • However, evacuation orders remained in place for Monterey County after a 400-foot levee burst on the Pajaro River flooding communities and farms due to runoff after last week’s 10th atmospheric river. Crews are working diligently to repair the levee. Residents have been forced to seek shelter in local motels and evacuation centers.
  • Snowfall in the Sierra mountains near Donner Pass has totaled over 54 feet, along with another incoming storm expected to dump up to another 10 feet of snow in the mountains. This will result in the risk of further roof collapses, impassable roads and gas leaks and explosions.
  • Warm air in the mountains has triggered multiple avalanche and flash flood warnings.
  • Not to be outdone by the snow, rain, flooding and avalanches, an EF-1 tornado carrying with it 90 mph winds touched down in Tuolumne County on Saturday, uprooting trees, and producing 1 inch hail along with flash flooding.

The floodwaters will eventually recede, bringing with it post-flood disease outbreaks

Note: Follow your local health department and authorities’ instruction and guidance before reentering your flooded home or other buildings. Be sure to have gloves, mask (properly fitting N95 at the very least) and goggles along with protective boots or shoes when venturing into any post flood areas.

Receding floodwaters along with warmer air create an ideal breeding ground for disease outbreaks.

Sewage spills, contaminated waste floating in waters, livestock feces along with harmful chemicals settle in buildings, cars, and surrounding landscapes, polluting everything it touches. It will be almost impossible to not be exposed to some sort of health hazard post flood.

Local health departments, clinics and hospitals will have a high likelihood of being overrun with flood related disease outbreaks.

The following is a list of common disease outbreaks following a flood

Jase case antibiotics are listed in parenthesis- note that the antibiotics in the Jase Case can treat many of these diseases:

Viruses and bacteria– transmitted through contaminated water (ingestion or contact), food, items that hold food or water, or rodents.

C difficile- (Metronidazole)

Giardia-(Metronidazole)

Salmonella (Ciprofloxacin if symptoms are severe)

Skin infection (staph)- (Doxycycline)

Tetanus- (Doxycycline or metronidazole)

Tularemia- (Doxycycline or ciprofloxacin)

Typhoid fever- (Ciprofloxacin)

Hepatitis A- no known treatment, it usually runs its course

Vector borne diseases (mosquitos)

West Nile Virus- Supportive treatment only

Rotavirus- Supportive treatment only

Mold

Mold is a major health concern following a flood. It can be invisible and spread within a matter of days. If you have a weakened immune system, you can become seriously ill from mold.

At risk populations include

  • Those receiving chemotherapy
  • Have had an organ transplant
  • Using corticosteroids

In addition, if you have any respiratory issues such as asthma, don’t enter any building after a flood without proper safety equipment (this goes for everyone including at risk persons)

  • Properly fitting N-95 mask or higher level protection
  • Gloves
  • Goggles

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

Lifesaving Medications

Everyone should be empowered to care for themselves and their loved ones during the unexpected.

Recent Posts

Keeping you informed and safe.

Join Our Newsletter

Our mission is to help you be more medically prepared. Join our newsletter and follow us on social media for health and safety tips each week!

KidCase now has Rx Dexamethasone (for Croup and Asthma) added at no extra cost!

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