Rachel was only 25 when she almost died from a C. difficile (C. diff ) infection.
Bobbie was 52 when this intestinal bacteria took over her life, and Sam was only four-years-old!
But they’re the lucky ones – they survived.
Many people, especially seniors and those who are weakened from other illnesses don’t. The CDC reports that over 80 percent of those who die from C. diff are over 65.
Now, Consumer Reports has just come out with a shocking study naming hospitals all over the U.S. that have skyrocketing rates of C.diff infections.
That’s why it’s now more urgent than ever to know what to do and how to stay safe from this toxic threat.
C. diff can cause intense abdominal pain, and severe, watery, bloody diarrhea — ten, twenty, even thirty times a day. It’s now directly killing close to 15,000 people a year and it contributes to the deaths of another 15,000.
The CDC has aptly named it “deadly diarrhea.”
While just about anyone, anywhere can come down with it, by far the most likely place to pick up a C. diff infection is in a hospital or other healthcare facility.
And although it’s incredibly difficult to get rid of once it attacks your gut, preventing it can actually come down to taking five easy steps that I’ll tell you about in a minute.
First, there’s the very big risk of picking up a C. diff infection in a hospital or nursing home. But a visit to just about any healthcare facility can put you at risk.
Consumer Reports recently completed an analysis of over 3,000 hospitals in the U.S. And the facilities that got a failing grade may surprise you.
For example, 19 “teaching hospitals” including Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, the Cleveland Clinic, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles got the lowest ratings from the research group.
That’s right, these big names in medicine can’t even keep these deadly infections in their own hospitals under control! And these are the places where “best practices” are supposed to be not just taught, but used.
If you’re wondering what some of the highest ranking hospitals are, two that made it to the top of the list are Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, and Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. (I’ll give you a link to the full report at the bottom of this page.)
But as I said, once you get a C. diff infection (if you survive), it can seem almost impossible to get rid of. And it’s also very likely to hit you again. So where this devastating blow to the gut is concerned, staying safe is the best policy.
And here are five big ways to do that:
#1: Don’t take antibiotics unless it’s absolutely necessary. The CDC reports that those taking antibiotics are up to 10 times more likely to come down with an active C. diff infection during the course of the drug and up to a month afterwards.
One of the reasons is because many of us already carry the pathogen in our gut. Kill off your “good guy” bacteria, and C. diff can easily take over.
#2: Take a high-quality probiotic every day – especially if you’ve recently taken antibiotics.
#3: Wash your hands! That age-old advice moms hand out is more important than ever. And remember: Hand sanitizers don’t kill this bacteria, so do the real deal with soap and water.
#4: If you’re caring for someone who has a C. diff infection, wear gloves when helping them use the bathroom or bathing them.
#5: Ditch those acid-suppressing meds called proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, Prilosec or any of the generic versions (which might be the most important preventive step you can take). These drugs are well-known to seriously up your risk of a C. diff infection.
You can read the full Consumers Report hospital survey here.
“Consumer Reports names hospitals with high C. Diff infection rates” Jeneen Interlandi, Consumer Reports, September, 27, 2016, consumerreports.org