Potential Sources of C. Diff
Clostridium difficile, often referred to as C. diff, is a bacterium that causes symptoms like diarrhea, cramping, and dehydration. In severe cases, it can lead to life-threatening colon inflammation. C. diff often affects older adults who are staying in hospitals or living in care facilities, but it can affect others as well. To help you and your loved ones stay healthy, the ID Care team outlines some potential C. diff sources and some ways that you can prevent an infection from occurring.
The only way to know that you’ve been infected by C. diff is to experience symptoms. Oftentimes, those who have been infected report having one or more of the following symptoms:
- Frequent diarrhea
- Severe cramping
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Rapid heart rate
In severe cases, C. diff can cause bloody stools or even inflammation of the colon, which can be life-threatening if not treated right away. Visit ID Care immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Origins of C. Diff
C. diff is caused by two main sources. These include the following:
When people touch surfaces that are contaminated with feces, including linens, clothing, and more, and then touch their mouths, an infection can very easily result. But fecal particles are normally invisible to the naked eye, making it important to know how to protect yourself.
One of the most effective preventative measures against this C. diff source is hand washing. By scrubbing your hands with soap and warm water after you use the restroom, before and after meals, and whenever they are dirtied, you can significantly decrease the chances that you’ll develop a C. diff infection.
While C. diff doesn’t pose a serious risk against healthy people, it becomes a much larger concern for people who are taking antibiotics, especially older people and those with certain illnesses. Put simply, certain types of antibiotics can alter the levels of bacteria in your stomach. If these levels become too low, C. diff will be more likely to develop and produce its toxins.
To prevent antibiotic use from causing a C. diff infection, ask your doctor about the necessity of the antibiotics they prescribe to you. If another treatment option is available, you may consider taking the alternative to help keep you healthy. In addition, don’t take any antibiotics without your doctor’s approval. Without knowing, you could put yourself at risk for a C. diff infection.
Other Preventative Measures
Besides washing your hands and conservative antibiotic use, you can help prevent the spread of C. diff by taking the following precautions:
- Limiting physical contact: Because C. diff often spreads from hand to mouth, touching someone who is infected with C. diff can cause the bacterium to spread. Be open with others about your medical conditions, and be sure to limit physical contact to stay protected.
- Thoroughly cleaning all surfaces: In healthcare settings, long-term care facilities, and even your home, cleaning surfaces with a chlorine bleach solution can help prevent the spread of C. diff spores. Further, washing clothing and other soft surfaces with hot water can help kill the bacteria and limit exposure.
Reliable C. Diff Treatment
At ID Care, our team of infectious disease experts has been helping patients stay happy and healthy since 1996. Should you or a loved one experience the symptoms of a C. diff infection, we are standing by with convenient locations across New Jersey to help you find relief. If you have any further questions about C. diff sources or suspect you may be infected, contact us today.