Tuesday, August 31, 2010

C Diff

I fear that a bacteria that has invaded hospitals and long-term care facilities is a threat that should be on everyone's lips.

It has the capability of being worse than any flu or other virus.

It's known in the medical world as "C-Diff". It's real name is Clostridium difficile.

It's found in older folks and sometimes in younger folks, and often in the tummies of people who have taken antibiotics. Hospitals that do not heed cleaning and safety precautions are rampant with it.

Symptoms range from mild diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. Go here for a complete list.

If you have symptoms for more than three days, go see a doctor.

Now you may be wondering why I am writing about this. Do I have it? No.

But my father-in-law, who died in July, developed this, and ultimately went into cardiac arrest because his body could not fend off the bacteria and continue functioning. He was already ill with heart disease, diabetes, and COPD, among other things, so his system was not strong.

He had received strong antibiotics because he developed a bacteria infection in his mouth following a trip to the dentist in early July. He was hospitalized for that for almost a week. He came home for about 10 days and then returned to the hospital with chest pains and then suddenly he had C-Diff.

I had heard of this before but I was not aware of how invasive it was, or that it was so lethal.

It is spread by not washing hands and from not having clean surfaces. Some forms of C-Diff bacteria can live on surfaces for days, making this a very difficult germ to eradicate. According to the Mayo Clinic,

An aggressive strain of C. difficile has emerged that produces far more deadly toxins than other strains do. The new strain is more resistant to certain medications and has shown up in people who haven't been in the hospital or taken antibiotics. This strain of C. difficile has caused several outbreaks of illness since 2000.
That is scary, don't you think?

Older folks are at risk. People who take antibiotics long-term are at risk. Folks who are weakened for whatever reason are at risk. People in health care settings are at risk.

It makes me not want to go to the hospital or the doctor, I'll be honest. This is the kind of bug that you don't want to get.

Wash your hands. If someone is sick, clean up well. Use a disinfectant such as bleach. Don't take antibiotics unless necessary. And if you do take them, take probiotics (such as those in yogurt) to help keeps the bad things in your colon in check. Be proactive in your health.

It could mean your life.

5 comments:

  1. A friend's mother who is not yet 50 and who was relatively healthy before having trouble with Crohn's or colitis developed this nasty bug, and it nearly took her life. I had never even heard of this until recently. Thanks for getting the info out there, Anita!

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  2. Sounds like what happened to a girlfriend of mine this past winter. She had had previous heart surgery a couple of years prior and when she had a hip replacement this year she became very ill and passed away. She was only 55 years old. Very sad.

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  3. Wow, I didn't know any of that. Good advice!

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  4. Pretty weird when your afraid to go to a hospital because you don't want to get sick.

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  5. This scares me. My son has been on antibiotics for his acne over nine months now. Everytime I ask his doctor if it's "safe" he assures me it is, but I don't believe him. I even told the boy I think he should stop taking them but he won't. Thanks for the heads up. I'll google it and see what I come up with as far as early symptons, just in case...

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