Category Archives: Health & Wellness Information

Do You Have A Penicillin Allergy? Fact or Fiction

Are you allergic to penicillin? If so, are you sure about that?

It’s surprisingly common for people to wrongly think they have a penicillin allergy — and that misconception can be dangerous for their health.

Ten percent of all patients in the United States claim to have a penicillin allergy. Of those people, 90 percent are not truly allergic and can tolerate the drug. That means millions of people take alternative antibiotics, which are more expensive and can put their health and potentially the health of others at risk. The solution is a simple allergy test.

A study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) looked at six years’ worth of medical records for patients in the United Kingdom and found that those with a penicillin allergy had an almost 70 percent greater chance of acquiring a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection and a 26 percent increased risk of Clostridium difficile-related colitis (C. diff.). MRSA and C. diff. are major health risks worldwide. The study compared adults with a known penicillin allergy to similar people without a known penicillin allergy.

People labeled with a penicillin allergy are usually instead given broad-spectrum antibiotics, which may kill off more good bacteria along with the bad. This appeared to increase a patient’s risk of infection with MRSA or C. diff., which are common in our environment and can live without causing any problems on someone’s skin or gut. However, if a broad antibiotic kills off competing good bacteria, MRSA and C. diff. can thrive and start to cause problems.

“Penicillin-related drugs, that whole class … they’re very effective at killing, and they’re very targeted. So for some bacteria they’re still the best. Oldie but goody,” said Kim Blumenthal, lead author of the new study and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“I have seen so many terrible, terrible outcomes” from C. diff. infections, Blumenthal said, including serious diarrhea, sepsis and death.

“All of us need to understand that antibiotic use is not a free ride, it carries a lot of risk,” said Paul Sax, clinical director of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He was not involved in the study but he says the study adds to the “substantial body of evidence” which shows that a penicillin allergy has been linked to longer hospital stays and an increased risk of acquiring resistant infections.

Using non-targeted antibiotics can quickly breed resistant bacteria. “Not only is it harmful to the world and the general population . . . but it’s harmful to the individual patient. So the message to the public is that it could be dangerous to you or me,” said Helen Boucher, director of the Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program at Tufts Medical Center, who was not involved in the study.

“In antibiotic resistance we don’t have a very loud patient advocacy voice . . . and the reasons for that are complicated, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that a lot of the victims aren’t here to speak for themselves because they died,” Boucher said.

The infections are resistant to many known drugs and can quickly become life-threatening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 million people, equivalent to the approximate population of Brooklyn, are infected with resistant bacteria every year. At least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result and even more from complications. 

Diagnosing penicillin allergies is challenging. Symptoms such as a rash, nausea or diarrhea could be a sign of allergy, or they might coincidentally occur when someone is taking antibiotics, according to Jonathan Grein, medical director at the Department of Hospital Epidemiology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Children frequently get rashes that are mistaken for penicillin allergies, Blumenthal said.

Even if people are diagnosed correctly as children, they can grow out of an allergy, said Sax.

Which raises the question, what exactly is an allergy? The Internet is full of “answers,” as any late-night Googling hypochondriac can tell you, but an allergy is simply an exaggerated immune response triggered unnecessarily. It can be anything from a rash to trouble breathing.

“Part of the problem is that ‘allergy’ means different things to different people,” said Grein. “Making that distinction between these intolerances and side effects and life-threatening immediate allergic reaction, that’s where the challenge is.”

For example, a patient of Sax’s, in his mid-20s, had a life-threatening heart infection. Penicillin could save him, but his medical record said he was allergic to the drug. Careful questioning by his medical team was able to determine that although he had nausea and diarrhea while on penicillin, he did not have an allergy, Sax said. Knowing this, the hospital administered the appropriate penicillin antibiotic to save his life.

In the case of penicillin, it is important to know that the risks of the allergy diagnosis are sometimes worse than the symptoms of the allergy itself. In most cases, penicillin should only be avoided if the allergy is immediate and life-threatening.

“There are over 30 million Americans who have a penicillin allergy on their record. And there are things we can do,” Blumenthal said.

Examine your own medical record, Blumenthal said. “I would want patients to think, ‘Hmm, am I really allergic to penicillin, or did my mom just tell me and it’s not really true, and should I get that evaluated?’ ”

If it’s been more than 10 years since you were diagnosed, talk to your doctor about getting retested.

Please click on the following link to review the article in its entirety

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/08/10/most-people-who-think-they-have-a-penicillin-allergy-are-wrong-thats-dangerous/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.47ced452875d

C Diff Foundation’s Health Education Clinic Has Flourished Over Recent Year With the Support From Nursing Students

On Wednesday, August 1st the senior Nursing students from
Rasmussen College attended the Foundation’s
bi-weekly Health Education Clinic in Florida where they were given the opportunity to expand their knowledge base focused on C.difficile (C.diff.)  Infections, Clinical Trials, Sepsis,  and
Antibiotic Stewardship while utilizing their skills with hands on practice.  The students add a new public health topic each month during the Health Education Clinic that benefit the local residents of Pasco County, Florida. The Health Education Clinic began in June 2017 and has proven beneficial to the local citizens to learn more about C.difficile infection prevention, treatments, clinical trials, environmental safety, support, Sepsis, and other leading Healthcare-acquired infections — to name a few MRSA, VRSA.  The Nursing Students, with their clinical faculty member,  introduce topics of hydration, nutrition, diabetes, hypertension, and display their proficiency in blood-pressure monitoring during clinic.

“It has been gratifying to witness the positive changes taking place in the resident’s health over the past year.  We extend our gratitude to the Rasmussen Colleges for incorporating our community program into their student’s curriculum/clinical experience to learn more about our mission from our members and for providing public health educational material to the local community,” stated Nancy Caralla, Founding President of the C Diff Foundation. “The program is mutually beneficial with outstanding results being produced.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are grateful for Rasmussen College, and their Nursing Students, for the continued support of this community outreach program.

Mercy As One Of the Top Five Large Health Systems In the Nation

Shorter hospital stays, fewer complications and better patient results are just a few metrics used to rank Mercy St. Louis, MO – as one of the top five large health systems in the nation, alongside Mayo Clinic. The 2018 Watson Health 15 Top Health Systems study recognizes five large, five medium and five small systems from 338 health systems and 2,422 hospitals across the U.S

The focus on health-care associated infections is a new metric in the study this year due to its impact on patient care – including reducing deaths – as well as lowering the cost of care. Mercy’s efforts tied to C-diff reduction have led to significantly higher prevention and earlier detection, and have resulted in avoiding more than $5 million in health care costs from 2016 to the present.

 

Watson Health, an IBM company and formerly known as Truven Health, produces the only study of its kind to combine rigorous analysis of individual hospital performance metrics into system-level data, identifying the best health systems in the nation. This annual, quantitative scorecard uses objective, independent research and public data sources. Health systems do not apply for consideration, and winners do not pay to market their award.

Mercy outperformed peers in the following ways:

  • Saved more lives
  • Lower cost of care
  • Readmitted patients less frequently
  • Shorter wait times in emergency departments
  • Shorter hospital stays

Some of the keys to improving care include:

  • Mercy was among the first health care organizations in the U.S. to have an integrated electronic health record connecting all points of care. Clinical best practices can be hard-wired into the system, resulting in triggers that warn of possible complications.
  • With more than 2,000 integrated physicians – one of the largest medical groups in the nation – Mercy brings primary care and specialty doctors together to implement proven, clinical-based best practices to improve patient care.

To review the article in its entirety please click on the following link to be redirected. Thank you

http://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/mercy-named-top-five-health-care-system-in-the-u-s-1001622408

C. diff. Spores and More, Join Us and Celebrate

www.cdiffradio.com

C. diff. Spores and More

Sponsored by Clorox Healthcare

Join us and Celebrate

with our 81,453 listeners – so far –  in Season III.

We thank our listeners joining us every

Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. PT / 1:00 p.m. ET

across the U.S. A. and to our listeners in

  • Australia
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  • UK    and Across the Globe

We also extend our sincere gratitude to the guests who take time out of their busy

schedules to join us on each live broadcast.  Though their words of wisdom and

by sharing the most up-to-date information with us raises awareness in so

many important areas of healthcare.

 

Season III concludes on October 31, 2017

and we will be gearing up for

the 5th Annual International C. diff. Awareness Conference & Health EXPO taking

place on November 9th and 10th at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas.

For conference information please click on the link below.

https://cdifffoundation.org/2017cdiffconference/about-nov-2017-annual-conference/

 

Join us in Season IV when we return on January 9th, 2018

as we continue bringing you updates that are focused on, but not limited to,

C. difficile infection prevention, treatments, clinical trials, environmental safety

and much more.

Thank you again for listening and we wish you and your families improved health,

continued healing, and the best day — which you all deserve!

 

Changing the Bed Linens In Sickness and In Health

According to Microbiologist, Phillip Tierno of New York University

our bed linens can “quickly blossom into a botanical park of bacteria and fungus.”

If left for too long, the microscopic life within the wrinkles and folds of our bed sheets can even make us sick,

> We can recall – years ago – the bed linens in any acute care facility (e.g., hospital) the bed linens were changed daily.   Food for thought <<

 

Humans naturally produce roughly 26 gallons of sweat in bed every year. When it’s hot and humid outside, this moisture becomes what scientists call an “ideal fungal culture medium.”

In a recent study that assessed the level of fungal contamination in bedding, researchers found that a test sample of feather and synthetic pillows that were 1 1/2 to 20 years old contained as many as 16 species of fungus each.

And it’s not just your own microbial life you’re sleeping with. In addition to the fungi and bacteria that come from your sweat, sputum, skin cells, and vaginal and anal excretions, you also share your bed with foreign microbes.

These include animal dander, pollen, soil, lint, dust mite debris and feces, and finishing agents from whatever your sheets are made from, to name a few.

Tierno says all that gunk becomes “significant” in as little as a week. And unclean bedding still exposes you to materials that can trigger the sniffing and sneezing, since the microbes are so close to your mouth and nose that you’re almost forced to breathe them in.

“Even if you don’t have allergies per se, you can have an allergic response,” Tierno said.

Another reason your sheets get dirty quickly has little to do with your behavior or sweat patterns — the issue is simply gravity.

“Just like Rome over time was buried with the debris that falls from gravity, gravity is what brings all that material into your mattress,” Tierno said.

One to two weeks of this buildup is enough to leave anyone with a scratchy throat — especially those with significant allergies or asthma. (One in six Americans has allergies.)

“If you touched dog poo in the street, you’d want to wash your hands,” Tierno said.

“Consider that analogous to your bedding. If you saw what was there — but of course you don’t see it — after a while you have to say to yourself, ‘Do I want to sleep in that?’

So what does Dr. Tierno suggest?

To stem the invisible tide, he said, sheets should be washed once a week — >> More Often when bed linens are visibly soiled and an infection is being treated <<


Proper ways to handle soiled linens:

There is now a common understanding that linens, once in use, are usually contaminated and could be harboring microorganisms such as MRSA and VRE.

Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions that healthcare professionals should “handle contaminated textiles and fabrics with a minimum agitation to avoid contamination of air, surfaces, and persons.” Even one of the leading nursing textbooks, Fundamentals of Nursing, states, “Soiled linen is never shaken in the air because shaking can disseminate secretions and excretions and the micro organisms they contain.” This text also states, “…linens that have been soiled with excretions and secretions harbor microorganisms … can be transmitted to others.”

According to Fundamentals of Nursing, when handling linens in any acute care and healthcare facility:

1. You should always wash your hands after handling a patient’s bed linens.

2. You should hold soiled linen away from your uniform.

3. Soiled linen is never shaken in the air because shaking can disseminate the micro-organisms they contain.

4. Linen from one patient’s bed is never (even momentarily) placed on another patient’s bed.

5. Soiled linens should be placed directly into a portable linen hamper or tucked into a pillowcase and the end of the bed before it is gathered up for disposal in the linen hamper or linen chute.

 

To read this article in its entirety – please click on the following link:

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-often-to-wash-bed-sheets-2017-6

 

WHO’s World Hand Hygiene Day In Conjunction With Fight Antibiotic Resistance – It’s In Your Hands

SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands

WHO’s global annual call to action for health workers


SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands 5 May 2017 – Fight antibiotic resistance – it’s in your hands

The WHO’s calls to action are:

  • Health workers: “Clean your hands at the right times and stop the spread of antibiotic resistance.”
  • Hospital Chief Executive Officers and Administrators: “Lead a year-round infection prevention and control programme to protect your patients from resistant infections.”
  • Policy makers: “Stop antibiotic resistance spread by making infection prevention and hand hygiene a national policy priority.”
  • IPC leaders: “Implement WHO’s Core Components for infection prevention, including hand hygiene, to combat antibiotic resistance.”

Every 5 May, WHO urges all health workers and leaders to maintain the profile of hand hygiene action to save patient lives. Being part of the WHO SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign means that people can access important information to help in their practice. This year Pr Pittet and three leading surgeons explain why hand hygiene at the right times in surgical care is life saving.

 

 

Le 5 mai de chaque année, l’OMS exhorte tous les travailleurs et responsables de santé à maintenir haut le profil de la promotion des bonnes pratiques d’hygiène des mains afin de sauver la vie de patients. Faire partie de la campagne Pour Sauver des Vies: l’Hygiène des Mains signifie que soignants et collaborateurs de santé peuvent accéder à des informations importantes pour améliorer leurs pratiques. Cette année, le Pr Pittet et trois chirurgiens de renommée internationale expliquent pourquoi l’hygiène des mains au bon moment au cours des soins chirurgicaux sauve des vies.

 

5 Moments for Hand Hygiene

The My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene approach defines the key moments when health-care workers should perform hand hygiene.

This evidence-based, field-tested, user-centred approach is designed to be easy to learn, logical and applicable in a wide range of settings.

This approach recommends health-care workers to clean their hands

  • before touching a patient,
  • before clean/aseptic procedures,
  • after body fluid exposure/risk,
  • after touching a patient, and
  • after touching patient surroundings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further Information on WHO My 5 Moments for Hand
Hygiene visit:
To download hand hygiene reminder tools for the workplace visit:
To access WHO hand hygiene improvement tools and resources for use
all year round visit:
To see the latest number of hospitals and health care facilities which
have signed up to support the campaign visit:

 

Home Health Care Information for Both Physicians and Patients

What is Home Health Care?

At its basic level, “home health care” means exactly what it sounds like – medical care provided in a patient’s home. Home health care can include a range of  care given by skilled medical professionals, including skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Home health care can also include skilled, non-medical care, such as medical social services or assistance with daily personal activities provided by a highly qualified home health aide.

As the Medicare program describes, home health care is unique as a care setting not only because the care is provided in the home, but the care itself is “usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective” as care given in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

When we say “home care” a common thought is senior care.  However; in  today’s society wellness draining diagnosis occur in every age group. Some of the more chronic, long-term illnesses greatly benefit from receiving home health care vs extended stays in acute care facilities and other health care in-patient services depending upon individual living situations and over-all health conditions.

Who qualifies for Home Health Care?

Each individual must contact their insurance provider to inquire about this skilled care provided within their home.  There may be co-pays per visit, limitations of the number of visits per episode and per calendar year, there may additional stipulations and should be understood by the patient and their families prior to discussing with a Medicare enrolled Physician.

To be eligible for Medicare home health services a patient must have Medicare Part A

and/or Part B.

To  be eligible for Home Health Care Services: (1)

  • Be confined to home.
  • Need Skilled Services.
  • Be Under the Care Of a Medicare -enrolled Physician.
  • Receive Services Under a Plan Of Care Established and Reviewed by a Physician and Have Had a Face-to-Face Encounter With a Physician or Allowed Non-Physician Practioner (NPP).  Care Must Be Furnished By or Under Arrangements Made by A Medicare-Participating Home  Home Health Agency (HHA).
  • Patient Eligibility—Confined to Home
    Section 1814(a) and Section 1835(a)
    of the Act specify that an

    individual is considered
    confined to the home” (homebound) if the following two criteria are met:
    First Criteria: One of the Following must be met:
    1. Because of illness or injury, the individual needs the aid of supportive devices such as crutches, canes, wheelchairs, and walkers; the use of special transportation; or the
    assistance of another person to leave their place of residence
    2.  Have a condition such that leaving his or her home is medically contraindicated.

    Second Criteria Both of the following must be met:
    1. There must exist a normal inability to leave home.
    2. Leaving home must require a considerable and taxing effort.

     

     

    Home Health Aids May Be Included In the Home Health Care Assessment and Assigned To Assist With Personal Care – Activities of Daily Living  (ADL’s), Bathing, Feeding, Dressing, and Walking.

    To learn more about Home Health Care Nursing and being treated in the home environment, listen to Linda Jablonski, MS, BSN, RN-BC – Director of Nursing Home Health.   Click on the C.diff. radio logo below to listen to the podcast.

    cdiffRadioLogoMarch2015

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

(1) CMS  (article se1436)  https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/Downloads/se1436.pdf