What is Clostridium difficile infection?
Clostridium difficile “pronounced Klo-Strid-ee-um dif-uh-seel”, also known as “C,diff” “See-dif”, is a germ that can cause diarrhea. Most cases of C.Diff infection occur in people taking antibiotics. The most common symptoms of C.Diff infection includes:
- Watery Diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Belly Pain and Tenderness
Who is most likely to get C.Diff infection?
The elderly, very young and people with certain medical problems have the greatest chance of getting C.Diff. C.Diff spores can live outside the human body for a very long time and may be found on things in the environment such as bed linens, bed rails, bathroom fixtures, and medical equipment. C.Diff infection can spread from person to person on contaminated equipment and on the hands of doctors, nurses, other healthcare providers and visitors.
Can C.Diff be fatal?
Yes, at the moment the CDC has calculated approximately a %6.0 mortality rate. Fatality due to C.Diff has been attributed to organ failure due to dehydration or complications with other current underlying medical conditions such as immune compromised or age.
Can C.Diff infection be treated?
Yes, there are antibiotics that can be used to treat C.Diff. In some severe cases, a person might have to have surgery to remove the infected part of the intestines. This surgery is needed in only 1 or 2 out of every 100 persons with C.Diff.
What are some of the things that Hospitals are doing ot prevent C.Diff infections?
To prevent C.Diff infections, Health Care Providers and General Public can:
- Clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after caring for someone with C.Diff. This can prevent C.Diff and other germs from being passed from pone person to another on their hands.
- Carefully clean rooms and equipment that have been used for someone with C.Diff
- Use “Contact Precautions” to prevent C.Diff from spreading to other people
“Contact Precautions Mean”
- Whenever possible, people with C.Diff with have a single room or share a room only with someone else who also has C.Diff
- Wear gloves and wear a PPE gown over clothing while taking care of someone with C.Diff
- Visitors may also wear PPE gowns and gloves to prevent spore spread.
- When leaving the room, visitors must remove their PPE gown and gloves and wash their hands
- In Hospital, Patience with C.Diff are asked to stay in their hospital rooms as much as possible. They should not go to common areas, such as gift shops, cafeterias, living rooms, common rooms.
- Hospitals are advised to only give antibiotics when it is “necessary”
“Make sure all Health Care Professionals and those providing care clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub “before” and after caring for you”
- Only take antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor “follow the directions”
- Be sure you clean your own hands often, especially after using the bathroom and before eating
- Keep your bathroom clean and close the toilet lid before flushing to reduce the spread of spores given off by fecal matter.
Can my friends and family get C.Diff when they visit me?
Yes – C.Diff infection usually does not occur in people who are not taking antibiotics, however those with compromised immune systems, previous underlying medical conditions or infants are susceptible. Visitors are not likely to get C.Diff but can transport it to someone who may be susceptible. To make it safer for visitors, they should:
- Clean their hands before they enter your room and as they leave your room.
- Avoid using the ill persons bathroom and avoid contact with surfaces which may hold fecal matter.
- Avoid contact with infants or those who could be ill already
If I have C.Diff what do I need to do when I go home from the Hospital?
Once you are back at home, you can return to your normal routine. Often, the diarrhea will be better or completely gone before you go home. This makes giving C.Diff to other people much less likely. However there are a few things you should do to lower the chances of developing C.Diff infection in yourself again or spreading it to others as C.Diff can survive up to 5 months outside of the host.
If you are given a prescription to treat C.Diff, take the medicine “exactly” as prescribed by your doctor and pharmacist. Do not take half-doses or stop before you run out. You may feel better but the bacteria is still in your body.
Was your hands often, especially after going to the bathroom and before preparing food.
People who live with you should wash their hands often as well as sleep in separate rooms “avoid sharing toiletry’s”
If you develop more diarrhea after you get home, tell your doctor immediately!
If your symptoms get worse at any time or you notice new symptoms from the list above, call your doctor or Health Link “811 in Alberta”. You can also call the “Health Link Alberta 24/7 if you have questions about C.Diff or any of the information in this handout.
This information was taken From Center of Disease Control “CDC” (Clostridium Difficile) Information slip.
“This material is for information purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction, and/or treatment. If you have questions, speak to your doctor or appropriate healthcare provider.”
In any emergency just remember to Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!
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