If it weren’t that the news alerts us to serious issues I’d take a TV holiday because it can be all consuming. It seems like every week there is a new medical study, pharmaceutical mishap and treatment in question. It shows us on the news, on websites and around the water cooler. So what’s the concern of the week?
Unfortunately studies are showing a huge increase in patients infected by a bacteria known as Clostridium Difficile (c-difficile). We should have known from the start we’d be in trouble because difficile in French means difficult. It is highly contagious and is often passed from patient to patient in hospitals and nursing homes. At first they believed that it was striking patients who had recently been on antibiotic or antimicrobial medication, but that seems to be in question.
This bacteria which causes many deaths is one more things to be on the lookout for if you have to be admitted to a hospital. The bacteria sits on surfaces. Think you’re safe? Here’s a short list of places where the bacteria is waiting to pounce: hands of caregivers, cart handles, bedrails, bedpans, stethoscopes, thermometers, and even telephones and remote controls. The news report showed one hospital working hard to keep surfaces clean by using a bleach solution to wipe down beds, rails, etc.
It’s crucial that you become assertive when your medical providers (doctors/nurses/medical assistants/certified nursing assistants/etc.) enter your room. It’s perfectly reasonable to request and if the request doesn’t work then demand that your care provider wash their hands upon entering the room. You don’t know what they touched right before touching you. The reports show that anti-bacterial gels don’t necessarily destroy the virus.
In addition to your medical team, it’s important to ask friends and family to wash their hands with soap and water. The odds are good you won’t have any trouble getting them to comply. All of these precautions are important because infection rates of c-difficile are reaching epidemic proportions. The number of cases has doubled since 1993 with the largest increase since 2000.
When facing a chronic or life-threatening illness the goal is to reduce or eliminate your exposure to harmful bacteria and viruses. You shouldn’t have to worry about what’s walking through your door at any given moment when you should be focusing your energy on getting well and getting out of the hospital.
Have you been diagnosed with c-difficile? How was it handled? What can you share to help others who may be preparing for a hospital stay? The more information we share the better your chances of avoiding these tragic infections.