Prevention of C. difficile (Clostridium difficile)

posted Feb 28, 2013, 2:44 PM by Todd Fox   [ updated Sep 23, 2016, 3:17 PM ]
Many healthcare professionals have been bombarded over the years with cases of C. difficile (Clostridium difficile) in their facilities, but many have actually avoided interaction with the dangerous superbug. Regardless, everyone should know about C. difficile! 

To coordinate with APIC’s (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology) new conference ( ) on C diff and to help the prevention efforts of those working hard to fight C diff, we decided to provide a little helpful information in this blog. Please feel free to share our information with colleagues, clients or anyone else that is high risk for C diff.

What is Clostridium difficile?

Clostridium difficile (klos-TRID-e-uhm dif-uh-SEEL) is often called “C. difficile” or “C-diff.” in addition to its official name. C. difficile is a germ that can be found in most elements and is easily transferred from person to person.

How can you tell if you or a patient might have C. difficile?

Symptoms of a C. difficile infection include:

  • · Severe diarrhea (very liquid) for many days 
  • · Severe cramping 
  • · Pain in your belly 
  • · Nausea 
  • · Bloody stool or the stool contains pus 
  • · Loss of appetite 
  • · Weight loss 
  • · Fever Conditions 

How can you prevent C. difficile?

Aside from following the Standard Precautions (See below for general guidelines for avoiding C. difficile or click here for Free Standard Precaution Posters and Information Sheets), the best thing you can do is be responsible with antibiotics. When you misuse antibiotics (take more or less antibiotics, take antibiotics that are broad use or use antibiotics that are not meant for your condition), you are allowing other illnesses and diseases to move in because good germs may have been killed along side the bad germs. Your body becomes vulnerable to superbugs- so use antibiotics appropriately!

Prevention as a healthcare professional with patients with C. difficile

Prevention as a visitor of a patient that has C. difficile

  • · Know whether your antibiotic usage puts you at a higher risk when visiting a hospital or nursing home 
  • · Do not use the patient’s bathroom since the patient with C. difficile should only use the facilities in the patient’s room 
  • · Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or wear disposable gloves and gowns when visiting 
  • · When entering or leaving, wash your hands with soap and water 
  • · Use hand sanitizer that is provided 
Good luck to all the speakers and attendees for APIC’s Clostridium difficile Educational and Consensus Conference held in Baltimore, MD (see for more information or to register). 

They have a great group of presenters from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Cliff McDonald, MD), VA Chicago Health Care System (Dale N. Gerding, MD), VA Boston Health Care System (Stephen M. Brecher, PhD) and Washington University School of Medicine (Erik R. Dubberke, MD, MSPH). With Moderators from Cynosure Health (Barbara DeBaun, RN, MSN, CIC) and Kaiser Permanente (Stephen Parodi, MD). It looks to be very informative and a huge step towards preventing C diff in the future.

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