Clostridium Difficile

Education - Clostridium Difficile (C. diff)

What Is it?

c diff

Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, is a species of bacteria of the genus Clostridium.

C. diff disease occurs when antibiotics kill your good bowel bacteria and allow the C. diff to grow. When it grows, C. diff produces toxins which can damage the bowel and may cause diarrhea. C. diff disease is usually mild but can sometimes be severe. In severe cases, surgery may be needed and in extreme cases the disease may cause death. C. diff is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in care facilities like Glacier View Lodge.

The main symptoms of C. diff disease are:

  • Watery Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal Pain or Tenderness

Who Gets C. diff? And How is it Treated?

C. diff disease usually occurs during or after the use of antibiotics. Old age, presence of other illnesses and poor overall health may contribute to the severity of the disease.

If you have symptoms of C. diff, your doctor will ask for a sample of your watery stool. The laboratory will test to see if C. diff toxins are present.

Treatment depends on how sick you are. People with mild symptoms may not need treatment. For more severe disease, antibiotics are required.

How is C. diff Spread? And How Can I Prevent This?

When a person has C. diff disease, the baceteria in the stool can contaminate surfaces such as toilets, handles, bedpans, and commode chairs. When touching these items, our hands can become contaminated. If we touch our mouths without washing our hands, we can become infected. Our soiled hands can also spread bacteria to other surfaces. Prevent the spread of C. diff by always washing your hands after using the washroom facility. Cleaning hands is the most important way for everyone to prevent the spread of C. diff.

Steps to Preventing the Spread of C. diff

Good Hand Hygiene—Wash your hands for at least 15 seconds: after using the toilet; after touching dirty surfaces; before eating; and before preparing meals.

Cleaning the House—Use a good all purpose cleaner and follow the directions on the label: Wet the surface well and clean using good friction; allow the surface to air dry; pay special attention to areas that may be soiled with feces such as the toilet or sink.

If you are infected with C. diff we ask that you refrain from visiting Glacier View Lodge until you have been symptom free for 48 hours.

** Information taken from the BC Health Files

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