Clostridium difficile has long been a concern in hospitals among patients who are on antibiotics. In recent times, very real concerns exist in regard to individuals outside of a medical setting contracting the bacteria, including people of all ages who are not on antibiotics. This is drawing attention on when and how clostridium difficile cleanup should occur.
As a result of these changes associated with clostridium difficile infection, and the prevalence of clostridium difficile in the environment, sharp focus is now on how to eliminate clostridium difficile, or C. diff, bacteria in residential settings, in automobiles, and in other locations.
If you’ve a family member that may be particularly susceptible to contracting clostridium difficile, you are wise to better familiarize yourself with the bacteria and the potential consequences of infection. You also need to recognize the importance of obtaining professional clostridium difficile cleanup assistance at the residence of a person who may be more significantly at risk for experiencing the ill-effects of this bacteria. This particularly includes older people who are or recently have been hospitalized and who have been or are taking an antibiotic.
Causes of Clostridium Difficile
In order to understand how clostridium difficile is transmitted, it is important to understand that these bacteria is found throughout the environment. A fair statement is that C. diff can be found nearly everywhere. Clostridium difficile is present in the air, soil, and water. The bacteria are present in animal and human feces. Clostridium difficile can be found in t he intestines of a small number of healthy people, individuals who experience no ill-effects from the bacteria, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Generally speaking, clostridium difficile is frequently associated with medical care and the utilization of antibiotics. In a medical setting, clostridium difficile contained in feces ends up spread to objects, surfaces, and food by individuals (including healthcare workers) who do not thoroughly wash their hands.
The clostridium difficile spores are durable. The clostridium difficile can remain viable on a surface or object for months. If an individual touches a surface or object containing clostridium difficile, he or she can end up unwittingly swallowing the bacteria. Similarly, a person who eats food containing clostridium difficile spores can become infected.
The use of antibiotics historically played a role in the development of illnesses associated with clostridium difficile. The clostridium difficile bacteria ends up in an infected person’s intestines.
The human intestines contain up to 100 trillion bacteria cells. These include up to 2,000 different kinds of bacteria, many of which are classified as “good bacteria.” When a person is healthy, the good bacteria in a person’s intestines are capable of keeping clostridium difficile in check, preventing illness.
If a person must take antibiotics for a condition, the bacterial balance in the intestines can be thrown off kilter. For example, food bacteria can be attacked by an antibiotic, lessening their effectiveness to combat bad bacteria and disease. This includes bacteria that typically keeps clostridium difficile under control.
Because of the various avenues through which clostridium difficile can be contracted, if a person is considered at risk of contracting the bacteria, a thorough remediation or clostridium difficile cleanup must occur. The best way of ensuring that this is accomplished is through the use of the services of a qualified, experienced clostridium difficile cleanup professional.
Increased Risk of Clostridium Difficile
As noted a moment ago, historically clostridium difficile was normally associated with transmission in a medical setting, particularly a hospital, when a person was using antibiotics. In recent times, an increasing number of individuals not on antibiotics and not in a hospital setting are developing illnesses associated with clostridium difficile.
In addition, a highly aggressive strain of C. diff has emerged. This strain is harder to treat because it is more resistant to medications typically used to treat an infection by these bacteria. In addition, this strain is showing up in people who’ve not been hospitalized and who’ve not taken antibiotics.
Symptoms of Clostridium Difficile
There are a pair of primary symptoms fundamentally associated with clostridium difficile. These are diarrhea and cramping. A person infected with C. diff is likely to have highly watery diarrhea more than 10 times a day. The diarrhea is likely to have a strong stench. If the infection is particularly strong, the diarrhea is apt to contain blood.
Cramping associated with clostridium difficile typically is severe. Abdominal cramping tends to become more severe as a clostridium difficile infection progresses.
In addition to what fairly can be called extreme diarrhea and severe cramping, other symptoms of clostridium difficile are:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Rapid heart rate
Serious Health Complications Associated with Clostridium Difficile
Serious and even fatal heath complications can arise from a clostridium difficile infection. These include:
- Dehydration: Severe diarrhea associated with a clostridium difficile infection can result in a significant loss of fluids, resulting in profound dehydration. This can prevent the body from properly functioning, resulting in life-threatening conditions.
- Kidney failure: There are instances when clostridium difficile causes dehydration to occur so quickly that kidney function rapidly deteriorates, leading to kidney failure.
- Toxic megacolon: Due to a clostridium difficile infection, the colon becomes unable to expel stool and gas. The colon becomes severely distended (expanded) and can rupture. If a rupture occurs, bacteria spreads throughout the abdominal cavity. Without immediate surgery, a ruptured colon can be fatal.
- Death: Various health consequences of clostridium difficile can result in death, as has been noted. It is important to keep in mind that in some cases clostridium difficile spreads very quickly.
Professional Clostridium Difficile Cleanup Services
As mentioned previously, when faced with a concern about contracting clostridium difficile, close consideration should be made to engaging professional assistance. A clostridium difficile cleanup specialist has the experience, equipment, and materials needed to thoroughly and comprehensively cleanup all areas and objects in a residence that potentially can be contaminated with clostridium difficile.
In that regard, it bears repeating to note that a wider swath of people is now thought to be susceptible to the complications that stem from exposure to clostridium difficile. Those potentially at risk not only include individuals who’ve been hospitalized and are taking antibiotics, but individuals in the general population as well.