Though the news about Clostridium difficile (C. diff0 infections has been grim of late, there are several things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that, contrary to the common wisdom, most people acquire C. diff, not in the hospital but in medical settings such as nursing homes, doctors’ offices, and outpatient centers.
However, as WebMD stated shortly after the report came out, here are 5 ways you can be proactive in protecting yourself:
1) Use antibiotics appropriately and only when necessary. Per WebMD, “Antibiotics are lifesaving medicines, but do much more harm than good when you don’t need them. Don’t beg your doctor for an antibiotic prescription if he or she doesn’t think you need one.”
2) Tell your doctor if you have been on antibiotics and get diarrhea within a few months.
3) Wash your hands — carefully — after using the bathroom.
4) If you have diarrhea, try to use a separate bathroom from the rest of the family. Be sure a bathroom is cleaned well if someone with diarrhea has used it.
5) If you are a caretaker for a person with C. diff infection, wear gloves during active treatment. Then clean your hands thoroughly. If the patient is using the bathroom, clean it well with a bleach solution.
Being smart and careful as a patient and caretaker can make all the difference!
Read the full report from the CDC: Making Health Care Safer – Stopping C. difficile Infections