“Raising C. difficile Awareness Week” is coming: Are you prepared?


Rosie D. Lyles, MD, MHA

Clinical Affairs Head at The Clorox Company

Member of the C Diff Foundation Research and Development Committee

“Raising C. difficile Awareness Week” is coming: Are you prepared?

As many people in the healthcare and infectious disease industry are aware, Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections remain a significant problem in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 250,000 C. difficile infections occur per year that require hospital treatment or affect those already hospitalized. On top of that, each year an estimated 14,000 people die from C. difficile infection.

The severity of this problem is one reason why I am proud to join the C Diff Foundation’s Research and Development Committee and Research Community. The C Diff Foundation works to provide support for those affected by C. difficile, raises awareness about the problem and works to help healthcare facilities and patients implement preventative measures.

Please join me and the C Diff Foundation in celebrating “Raising C. difficile Awareness Week” starting Nov. 1 to spread the word about C. difficile prevention, treatment and environmental safety.

C. difficile infections are preventable, so healthcare facilities need to focus on the following strategies (adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to help protect their patients, staff and visitors from infection:

C. difficile Prevention Tips:

  1. Antibiotic Stewardship – Prescribe and use antibiotics carefully. Unnecessary use can raise infection risks.
  2. Test – If a patient has diarrhea while on antibiotics or after taking them, order a C. difficile test right away to confirm whether he/she is infected.
  3. Isolation Precautions – Immediately isolate patients with confirmed cases of C. difficile or who are exhibiting symptoms (e.g., diarrhea).
  4. Personal Protective Equipment – Always perform hand hygiene with soap and water before and after contact with infected individuals. Wear gloves and gowns when treating C. difficile patients and ensure that staff uses them properly to avoid cross-contamination risks.
  5. Environmental Decontamination – Clean the facility, especially rooms of patients with C. difficile, with bleach or another EPA-registered spore-killing disinfectant. Make sure you follow manufacturers’ instructions for dilution and contact time, the length of time the surface needs to remain wet for the product to work. Also consider supplementing standard terminal cleaning with an ultraviolet (UV-C) system.
  6. Alert – If a patient with C. difficile transfers, notify the new facility of their condition so they can take the proper precautionary measures.

To download a free infographic poster on preventing C. difficile facility wide, visit: http://www.cloroxprofessional.com/industry/health/knowledge-expertise/cdiffinfographic/

I hope to see you Nov. 4 at the “Raising C. difficile Awareness” conference at the University of Illinois at Chicago! Visit the C Diff Foundation website for more information.