C. Complex: causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and

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Clostridioides difficile ( C. diff for short) It is a type of bacteria that usually lives in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of approximately 3% of the population. If the balance of bacteria in the GI tract is out of balance, as with antibiotics, C. diff can thrive.

Once C.diff takes effect, it releases toxins that irritate the lining of the colon. This irritation causes the main symptoms of C. dif infection, which include watery diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

When a person has these symptoms, along with certain risk factors (such as taking antibiotics or a recent hospital stay), their healthcare provider may suspect a diagnosis of C.diff.

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Treatment for C.diff includes taking antibiotics to kill C.diff bacteria , maintaining adequate fluid intake, and monitoring improvement. In rare cases where the infection becomes life threatening, surgery may be required to remove the colon .

C. diff causes nearly half a million illnesses in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Because

C. diff infections generally occur when there is an imbalance in the bacteria in the human gut that allows C. diff to grow. and release toxins. There are several factors that can alter the balance of the intestinal flora, but antibiotics are more commonly associated with C. dif infection.

These antibiotics work by attacking and killing bacteria in the area where the infection is present. The problem is that these drugs also affect the balance of bacteria in the gut. When antibiotics interfere with the balance of bacteria in the colon but do not kill C. diff, they can thrive and cause symptoms.

However, C.diff can be quite hardy. Even more worrying, some strains are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.

Antibiotics

C. diff infections can develop during or after antibiotic treatment. The more doses a person takes and the longer an antibiotic needs to be taken, the greater the risk of infection .

Research has shown that some antibiotics appear to be associated with C. diff infection. Potentially higher risk antibiotics include:

  • Cleocin (clindamycin)
  • Fluoroquinolones such as cipro (ciprofloxacin)
  • Carbapenem drugs such as primaxin (imipenem)
  • Cephalosporins

Taking these antibiotics does not necessarily mean that you will develop a C.diff infection, as other factors affect your risk as well. Studies have shown that the risk of C.diff associated with the use of antibiotics is higher in hospitalized patients taking high doses of drugs. However, any antibiotic can cause C.diff , and it sometimes occurs in people who have not taken antibiotics. …

Hospitalization

C. diff is excreted in the stool and can be easily spread in whatever environment it is found in. Hospitals and nursing homes are common places where C.diff can thrive .

Bacteria can live on bed rails, bedding, toilets, bathroom door knobs, floors, electronic rectal thermometers, and other medical equipment.

People in hospitals and long-term care settings are more likely to be exposed to C. diff and are at increased risk of infection.

Other factors

Research has also identified other factors that can increase your risk of getting C. diff .

Symptoms

The main symptom of C. diff infection is diarrhea, especially loose, watery stools that often occur during the day. Diarrhea is often accompanied by abdominal cramps .

Other symptoms of C.diff infection can include:

  • Hot
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

Complications from C. diff infection are rare, but can include:

It is quite common to have diarrhea while (or after) taking antibiotics . In most cases, C. diff is not the cause . However, if you experience significant diarrhea and other symptoms of infection, call your doctor.

Diagnostics

The diagnosis of C. diff is usually confirmed with a positive stool test. A stool sample is required for a test that looks for toxins produced by C. diff (called toxin A and toxin B) OR the gene that codes for the toxin .

History of the disease

Often times, a patient's medical history is sufficient for a physician to suspect a C. diff infection. For example, a patient with diarrhea who is in the hospital and is taking or has recently taken antibiotics can have a healthcare provider test for C.diff.

Lab test

The diagnosis of C. diff is usually confirmed with a positive stool test. The test requires a stool sample that looks for toxins produced by C. diff (called toxin A and toxin B) and the gene that codes for toxin B.

In some cases, other tests are needed to diagnose a C. dif infection . These tests require more steps, take more time, and may need to be performed in a specialized laboratory.

A healthcare provider can order one of these tests to find out if a person who is not feeling sick has C.diff , especially if that person cares for or works closely with other people, such as a daycare worker or nurse. ..

About 3% of healthy adults and a greater percentage of the sickest adults are colonized by the C. diff bacteria, but are asymptomatic. They can still spread the bacteria to other people.

Accurate and timely diagnosis and treatment of C.

Watch out

Treatment of C. diff infection may require several steps. The type of treatment and the duration will depend on the severity of the infection and the general health of the person.

  • Stopping the provocative effect of the antibiotic: It may not be possible to stop the antibiotic treatment; The healthcare provider will weigh the risks and benefits of doing so if someone is diagnosed with C.diff.
  • Hydration and Electrolyte Replacement: Fluids can be given orally (orally) at home. In more severe cases, the person may need to go to the hospital for fluid replacement intravenously (through a vein).
  • Antibiotic use : Although the use of antibiotics can cause C.diff , some antibiotics can be helpful in treating infections. Most patients with C.diff can be treated with Flagyl (metronidazole), vancomycin , or Dificid (fidaxomicin). Treatment may need to be repeated if the infection persists or returns.
  • Surgery: only 1% of all patients with C. diff. and 30% with serious illness will require surgery.

The severity of the infection

The severity of C. diff infection varies from person to person. Although most people who contract C. diff in a hospital will be treated successfully, the infection can be life-threatening, especially for those who are immunosuppressed or sick.

In severe cases, a person with a C.diff infection may need hospitalization and close medical care for several days or weeks. In rare cases, a person may need to have their colon removed ( colectomy ) if an infection has caused damage .

Repetition

It is important to note that C. diff can come back – about one in five people with C. diff will get sick again. In the first relapse of C. diff , an antibiotic regimen with oral vancomycin or oral fidaxomicin is recommended.

If someone has multiple, persistent, severe C.diff infections, a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) may be recommended. In FMT, stool from a healthy donor is transported by colonoscopy or oral capsules to the gastrointestinal tract of a person with recurrent C. diff infections .

Prophylaxis

C. diff is very contagious. However, there are precautions you can take to protect yourself if you are around someone who is sick or in an environment where C.diff is known to breed, such as a hospital or nursing home.

  • Wash your hands well after using the bathroom and before eating. Dry your hands and fingers thoroughly with warm soapy water for 30-40 seconds (the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice).
  • Wash all bedding, clothing (especially underwear), and towels that the patient has come in contact with. Use hot water with laundry soap and chlorine bleach.
  • Clean all hard surfaces in your home (switch plates; toilet seats and flushes; oven and refrigerator handles; door handles; computer touch panels, etc.) with a bleach-based cleaner. You can also mix 1 part bleach with 10 parts water .
  • If you are in a hospital or clinic, make sure all healthcare providers take precautions (wearing gowns and gloves) when caring for someone with C.diff. (hand sanitizer does not kill C. diff ). Precautions should be initiated as soon as C.diff is suspected. Because the infection spreads easily, healthcare providers do not need to wait for laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis before taking preventive measures.

Get the word of drug information

If you are taking an antibiotic, have completed an antibiotic course in the last month, have recently been to the hospital, or are currently in the hospital and have diarrhea, please tell your doctor. Although there are many causes of diarrhea, it is important to rule out C.diff or confirm an infection as soon as possible.

Severe cases of C.diff are rare, but can be life-threatening if they occur. The infection can be cured and this will help you avoid complications such as dehydration.

You can also prevent the spread of infection and protect yourself from infection by using proper hand hygiene practices and workplace precautions if you may be exposed to C.diff at work.

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