Half a million Americans develop C. Diff each year, and recently, C. Diff infections have become more frequent, severe, and difficult to treat. With hospitalizations, mortality, and recurrent C. Diff infections on the rise, it’s time to have more conversations about this condition and how it can lead to Sepsis.
- Diff, also known as Clostridioides Difficile, is an infection that develops through bacterium found in the gut or intestines and can range from mild to severe. In mild to moderate cases, the most common symptoms are fever, nausea and/ or abdominal cramping with frequent episodes of diarrhea over the course of a few days. No hospitalization is usually required. With severe C. Difficile infections, moderate symptoms are more acute and can include additional warning signs such as rapid heart rate, blood or pus in the stool, dehydration, sudden weight loss and more. With severe cases the development of colitis, an inflammation of the colon, and toxic megacolon, which is the enlargement of the colon, can occur. Both are considered life-threatening complications leading to colonic perforation, peritonitis, loss of kidney function and/or an extreme response to infection called Sepsis.
There are various causes for C. Diff infections, but most infections often start after taking antibiotics. Symptoms usually develop within five to 10 days after starting a course of antibiotics but may occur as soon as the first day or up to two months later. Illness from C. difficile most commonly affects older adults who are staying in hospitals or in long-term care facilities. However, studies show increasing rates of C. Diff infection among people traditionally not considered to be at high risk, such as young and healthy individuals who have not used antibiotics nor been in a health care facility.
- Diff is contagious and can spread from hand to mouth or from contact with someone who is infected. Thus, preventative measure include common hygienic practices such as washing and/ or sanitizing your hands, thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces, and limiting physical contact with those possibly exposed to C. Diff.
For additional in-depth information on Clostridioides Difficile, please feel free to visit the Peggy Lillis Foundation through the link provided below. The Peggy Lillis Foundation is dedicated to building a nationwide awareness movement through Clostridium Difficile education and advocacy.