You and most others are probably familiar with the deadly MRSA superbug that’s been spreading across U.S. communities like wildfire. What you likely didn’t know — until right now — is a potentially greater risk, a faster spreading deadly superbug referred to as “C. diff” or “c-diff” has emerged that killed more than twice the number of people than H1N1 Swine Flu!
If you have not heard about “C. diff” there might just be a reason, as many healthcare providers are not informed of the seriousness of this threat. Further, most antibiotics actually strengthen these superbugs.
Scary would be an understatement for most who rely on antibiotics as an omnibus cure or preemptive drug, as do many hospitals.
Why wouldn’t the drug companies and federal government want you to know?
Certainly the media, U.S. Government and CDC have not made nearly the effort to inform you nor the general public of the threat of C. diff as they did for the Swine Flu H1N1.
Yet already over two times more people have died this past year from each of these superbugs than H1N1 Swine Flu.
Possibly one reason for the lack of attention is that there is not the money and profit to be made by pharmaceutical companies as there was for swine flu. In fact these superbugs may, to varying degrees, threaten the drug manufacturers who produce many of the antibiotics that serve to strengthen these Superbugs!
If you, too, are concerned about previously NOT having been informed previously about this second superbug called “Clostridium difficile” (C. difficile or C. diff or c-diff) with its rapidly increasing presence around the United States – and at rates even higher than MRSA… then PLEASE DO PASS THIS ARTICLE ON to your neighbors, friends and loved ones starting now, today!
C. diff may be even more common in hospitals than MRSA. If you’ve taken antibiotics, you’re especially at risk.
Every year, tens of thousands of people become sick from a C. diff infection. Most often, this multidrug-resistant bacterium causes diarrhea but in severe cases it can lead to life-threatening inflammation of your colon. The numbers are increasing, as last year more than 28,000 people died from C. difficile, while less than half that number (12,000) died from H1N1 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even more are expected to die from C. diff infection this year.
Becoming empowered starts with knowing and understanding the cause.
How can you take preventive measures to avoid getting C. difficile! First you must know and understand what C. difficile is, what causes it, how it spreads and how to avoid it, which includes at times asking “sick care” workers to take simple but important “health care” actions FOR YOU!
What is C. Difficile?
Clostridium difficile is a species of bacteria that may cause intestinal disease. The bacteria reside in your gut, and most often infection occurs after a person receives antibiotics. Because antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria in your gut, it’s easy for C. diff to take over after the course is finished.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
“People in good health don’t usually get sick from C. difficile. Your intestines contain millions of bacteria, many of which help protect your body from infection.
But when you take an antibiotic to treat an infection, the drug can destroy some of the normal, helpful bacteria as well as the bacteria causing the illness. Without enough healthy bacteria, C. difficile can quickly grow out of control.”
While it’s possible to have C. diff and not get sick, many people display symptoms including:
- Watery diarrhea that occurs three or more times a day for two or more days
- Mild abdominal cramping and tenderness
As the Mayo Clinic reports, in severe cases C. diff can cause a dangerous inflammation of your colon that can be fatal and produces the following symptoms:
- Watery diarrhea 10 to 15 times a day
- Abdominal cramping and pain, which may be severe
- Blood or pus in the stool
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
C. diff is most common in people who have been in hospitals or other health care facilities; however there is also an aggressive, particularly toxic C. diff strain that has been infecting people who have not been in a hospital or taken antibiotics.
More Common Than MRSA
C. diff cases have been increasing for years, and a new analysis of infection rates in 28 hospitals from 2008-2009 found its prevalence is even higher than MRSA.
During the study period, researchers determined that rates of C. diff infection were 25 percent higher than rates of MRSA infection.
Further, this bacterium, which is typically much more common in people over the age of 65, is now spreading to children. A report published in Emerging Infectious Disease found that hospitalizations of children due to C. diff increased from 4,626 in 1997 to 8,417 in 2006 — a 9 percent increase each year.
Mortality rates have also been on the rise. According to an abstract in the September 2007 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases:
“Reported mortality rates from Clostridium difficile disease in the United States increased from 5.7 per million population in 1999 to 23.7 per million in 2004. Increased rates may be due to emergence of a highly virulent strain of C. difficile.”
Death rates in the UK have also taken an abrupt up-tick. According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, the number of death certificates mentioning C. diff increased by 72 percent from 2005 to 2006.
How is C. Diff Spread?
C. diff bacteria are found in feces, and are easily spread from person to person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
“People can become infected if they touch items or surfaces that are contaminated with feces and then touch their mouth or mucous membranes. Healthcare workers can spread the bacteria to other patients or contaminate surfaces through hand contact.”
Because of this, hand-washing and meticulous cleaning are among the best methods to cut down on the spread of infection. However, alcohol-based hand sanitizers do NOT kill C. diff. Further, the bacteria can exist in a spore form that’s also not killed by soap and water (but can live on surfaces for months and grow in your body once ingested). It’s thought that the actual physical process of washing your hands is therefore an important step in removing the bacteria.
USA Today reported one study in which Ohio hospitals adhered to strict hand-washing, cleaning and contact isolation guidelines and were able to reduce the number of C. diff cases from 7.7 per 10,000 patient days in the hospital to 6.7.
Top Tips for Avoiding C. Diff Infection …
Fortify Your Body With Good Bacteria
You can help fortify your gut health (and your family’s gut health) with high quality physician prescribed superb probiotics. Ask and we can recommend what could be best for your specific circumstances.
First and foremost, you should lead a healthy lifestyle, one that will keep your immune system in optimal working order as well as keep you out of the hospital.
As even the CDC states, “People in good health usually don’t get C. difficile disease.”
Next, only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary, and if you do take them make sure you take steps to restore your healthy gut bacteria. Your gut bacteria will be negatively influenced by antibiotics, which kill off both good and bad bacteria. This is why recent antibiotic use is a risk factor for C. diff (as well as MRSA).
Because 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system, this means that if your gut is overrun with bad bacteria, there’s a good chance your immune system will not be functioning at its best if your gut is overrun with bad bacteria. Further, the lack of healthy flora makes it easy for C. diff and other dangerous bugs to take hold.
You can help fortify your gut and immune system health with practitioner prescribed superb probiotics. When choosing a probiotic supplement for yourself, keep in mind that probiotic organisms must survive three critical barriers to be of benefit to you:
- The manufacturing process
- Time on the shelf
- Most importantly, transit through the acidic environment of your stomach.
It’s important to find one formulated to handle all of the above, presented in moisture-resistant that enhance stability and the ultimate delivery of probiotic organisms to your intestinal tract.
Once that translates to better results through increased levels of protected bacteria optimally released throughout your entire digestive tract.
Studies have shown that probiotics may be helpful with both immune system modulation and allergies, plus they’re imperative if you’ve recently been on antibiotic therapy. It’s a simple step that may help keep you and your family in the best health possible.
Cultured foods, things like kefir (a fermented milk drink that tastes like tart yogurt) and traditionally fermented sauerkraut, natto and other fermented vegetables are also among the best sources of probiotics around. So in addition to taking a high-quality probiotic, adding these probiotic-rich foods to your diet is also important.
In addition to probiotics, there is also an array of high-quality supplements (available only from doctors due to U.S. standards) that can help to give your immune system an extra boost.
Helpful Hygiene Tips for Everyone (Including Those in the Hospital)
Everyone should wash their hands with soap and water regularly, especially after using the bathroom and before you eat. In a health care setting, it’s especially imperative that your health care providers wash their hands thoroughly to avoid passing C. diff or other superbugs to you!
If you’re in a hospital (or have recently been) and are taking antibiotics, you should also ask to be tested for C. diff if you develop diarrhea. Prompt identification and treatment can help to stop the infection before it progresses to a dangerous level.
If you or a loved one or you are in a hospital, doctor’s office or nursing home we recommend you print off this ”Form To Inform” to help better protect your health:
Form to Inform
Let’s Stop MRSA and C-DIFF Together
Your Dedication and Participation Is Most Appreciated!
Please help me STOP any possible spread of MRSA and C-DIFF
Please know that upon entering my immediate area I need and would appreciate you to wash your hands “in front of me” with hot water and antibacterial soap or put on new clean gloves “in front of me” as a point of assurance that there is a reduced likelihood of you having transported MRSA or C-DIFF into my immediate area.
CDC-approved and recommended Hand Washing Method:
How to Wash Your Hands Please:
Also the regular cleaning of my area with either oxiclean or bleach regularly is most appreciated. I too will do so when possible.
If at any time I inform you that I have diarrhea please immediately test my stool sample for C-DIFF.
Getting well is my objective. Staying well without getting sick and not transporting C-DIFF or MRSA to others is an important mandatory responsibility for us all.
Thank you for all you do and your participation in my care and support to assure I get and stay well.
Truly and sincerely in your hands,
(Your Appreciative Patient)
Again, we highly recommend you print out this “Form to Inform” and give it to all health care workers who you come into contact with to assure they are aware of the risks of “C. diff” and know you want to reduce your risks of exposure.
Finally, because “C. diff” is transported in fecal matter and commonly exists on toilet seats, you may also want to practice the “stoop to poop” (vs. sitting on the toilet) when in a public restroom (including those in hospitals or other health care settings).