These horrible infections are released into hospital environment through feces. It is found EVERYWHERE…on the hands of nurses and doctors, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, even mops. An increasing number of infections are antibiotic-resistant; are more difficult to treat; and more deadly.
As medical care providers use more and more antibiotics, the beneficial bacteria in the colon are killed. C.diff. survives in the new environment and multiplies. The bacteria release toxins that cause damage to the lining of the colon causing severe diarrhea and in some cases death.
According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Improvement’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project the number of C. diff. infections more than doubled between 2001 and 2005 to 301,200 patients. 72.5% of the patients with C. diff. infections developed them as a result of exposure to the bacteria in a healthcare facility.
IMPORTANT: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Guidelines for Infection Control in Health Care Facilities notes that proper hand hygiene is the single most important factor in protecting patients from becoming infected. But to complicate matters, the commonly used alcohol-based hand gel is ineffective against C. diff. HANDS MUST BE WASHED WITH SOAP AND WATER TO KILL THE BACTERIA.
Don’t be afraid to ask your health care provider to wash their hands before touching you. It may save your life.