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Giardia Enigma?

When I through-hiked the PCT a number of people I was hiking with came down with giardia. We drank from the same sources for weeks. They treated their water and I never did and I still never got sick. Why?


When I through-hiked the PCT a number of people I was hiking with came down with giardia. We drank from the same sources for weeks. They treated their water and I never did and I still never got sick. Why?

Submitted by - Jerrad, Grass Valley, CA


Some people are immune to Giardia, and that could be the reason. Or, since it takes several of the protozoa to cause disease, he might have simply been lucky and never ingested enough to make him sick.

1 Comment

  1. JeffCowen

    I was born and raised in the country in Alabama, I grew up one with the land and with the woods. We didn’t even get running water until I was about 8 years old (and I’m only 40). We drew water from a well, when the well was dry, we filled buckets full of water from the local creek that runs through a massive gambit of farms and agricultural land.

    We never thought about sanitizing that water. We may have gotten sick from time to time but over time, us kids stopped getting sick. And next thing you know it was nearly 30 years before I had a flu again, was nearly 30 years before I had a cold, an ear infection, etc etc. I became a software developer, and wouldn’t you know it after a few years of cubicle life my sinuses give me hell again, I’ve been sick off and on for the last couple of years, etc etc. So it’s back to the woods and the country for me, this cubicle crap is retarded no matter how much money I’m making now! I’ll leave this stuff to the yuppies!

    Now I ensure my children are taken on river trips when we are kayaking, I ensure they hike, camp, backpack, are exposed to the country, they are encouraged to play in our local lake, they are encouraged to play outside and get as dirty as they please. I don’t freak out at them for drinking the water, I don’t freak out if they fall in the mud or get dirt in their mouths. I don’t get freaked out when the dogs are licking them in the mouth, or the goats are licking them in the mouth, etc.

    Look people, you can live your sterile little lives. But the end result is MORE sickness, less immunity, and a rougher go of getting rid of the bugs. Do yourself a favor, GET DIRTY, when you are not in a survival situation, drink the water! Over time your body will adjust, and you’ll be a better and stronger person for it.

    No matter what, in a survival situation, unless you know you will be getting rescued before you dehydrate and die (and if you know this you aren’t really lost), it’s best to drink the water because the gestation period of most pathogens is actually long enough that most will be rescued before they ever know they got sick from it. Don’t buy into the water hype.

    In Mexico, Americans typically get VERY sick drinking water the natives drink every day, same for Americans in Africa, south Asia, etc. The Natives drink and they are just fine, Americans drink and you’d think they were going to physically explode in sickness. Think about that.

    Most of us country people that go backpacking rarely purify our water, but we rarely ever get sick, take the city slicker hiking and next thing you know they are throwing up and dying. When I was stationed in El Paso Texas we went to Juarez with a group of soldiers, me and the 2 guys from backwood virginia didn’t get sick, the guy from California, the guy from Chicago, and a girl from Michigan all got VERY sick after that trip. The 3 country boys were just fine, the 3 people from the city got very ill. THINK ABOUT IT! Stop being such clean freaks, you are killing yourselfs.

    Your excessive showering is washing oils from your skin and your skin is dried out and unhealthy or overcompensating with oil production and you look like you were dipped in wesson oil, you excessive hair care is causing your hair to resemble something more akin to wire than hair or can’t be left alone for more than a day without starting to look greasy because your body is producing excessive oil to try and fix the dryness of your scalp. Your immune systems are weak because they are rarely introduced to common bugs they should already be immune to, in the process they also don’t build immunities as quickly because your body just isn’t used to having to do it.

    The body is an amazing machine, if Humans would pop their heads out of their backsides long enough they would realise THEY are what is causing their bodies harm moreso than nature causing that harm. What you put into your body and how you take care of your body is paramount to good health. And being too clean is actually worse than being too dirty over the long haul.

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