To help prevent the spread of C. difficile, hospitals and other health care facilities follow strict infection-control guidelines. If you have a friend or family member in a hospital or nursing home, don't be afraid to remind caregivers to follow the recommended precautions.
Preventive measures include:
July 16, 2013
- Hand-washing. Health care workers should practice good hand hygiene before and after treating each person in their care. In the event of a C. difficile outbreak, using soap and warm water is a better choice for hand hygiene, because alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not effectively destroy C. difficile spores. Visitors also should wash their hands with soap and warm water before and after leaving the room or using the bathroom.
- Contact precautions. People who are hospitalized with C. difficile have a private room or share a room with someone who has the same illness. Hospital staff and visitors wear disposable gloves and gowns while in the room.
- Thorough cleaning. In any setting, all surfaces should be carefully disinfected with a product that contains chlorine bleach. C. difficile spores can survive routine cleaning products that don't contain bleach.
- Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed for viral illnesses that aren't helped by these drugs. Take a wait-and-see attitude with simple ailments. If you do need an antibiotic, ask your doctor to prescribe one that has a narrow range and that you take for the shortest time possible.
- Khanna S, et al. Clostridium difficile infection: New insights into treatment. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2012;87:1106.
- Rebmann T, et al. Preventing Clostridium difficile infections: An executive summary of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology's elimination guide. American Journal of Infection Control. 2011;39:239.
- LaMont JT. Clostridium difficile in adults: Epidemiology, microbiology, and pathophysiology. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 25, 2013.
- Kelly CP, et al. Clostridium difficile in adults: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 25, 2013.
- Frequently asked questions about Clostridium difficile for healthcare providers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/cdiff/Cdiff_faqs_HCP.html. Accessed March 25, 2013.
- Headley CM. Deadly diarrhea: Clostridium difficile infection. Nephrology Nursing Journal. 2012;30:459.
- LaMont JT. Clostridium difficile in adults: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 25, 2013.
- Surawicz CM, et al. Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Clostridium difficile infections. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. In press. Accessed March 25, 2013.
- Armstrong GD, et al. A potential new tool for managing Clostridium difficile infection. The Journal of Infectious Diseases. In press. Accessed March 25, 2013.
- Venugopal AA, et al. Current state of Clostridium difficile treatment options. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2012;55:S71.
- Vancomycin hydrochloride. Micromedex Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedex.com. Accessed March 27, 2013.
- Fidaxomicin. Micromedex Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedex.com. Accessed March 27, 2013.
- Van Nood E, et al. Duodenal infusion of donor feces for recurrent Clostridium difficile. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;368:407.
- Diarrhea. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea/#treated. Accessed March 27, 2013.
- Clostridium difficile and C. difficile toxin testing. Lab Tests Online. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/cdiff/tab/test. Accessed April 15, 2013.
- Public workshop: Fecal microbiota for transplantation. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/NewsEvents/WorkshopsMeetingsConferences/ucm341643.htm. Accessed April 15, 2013.
- Steckelberg JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 16, 2013.
- Khanna S, et al. The epidemiology of community-acquired Clostridium difficile infection: A population-based study. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2012;107: 89.
- Khanna S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 17, 2013.