Protect yourself from a nasty superbug

You’re probably beginning to hear more about the rapid rise of sickness from Clostridium difficile or “C. diff,” a bacterial infection also known as the diarrhea germ.

The symptoms range from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon and intestines, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The state launched a C-diff education and prevention campaign Wednesday with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And because this nasty bug spreads in health care settings, educating hospital and medical office workers about prevention is on the agenda.

The CDC has also just released a report saying C-diff remains at historically high levels, linked to 14,000 deaths a year, especially in older adults, those taking antibiotics and getting medical care.  (About 25 percent of C-diff infections occur in hospital patients and the rest are accounted for in those in nursing homes or who have recently been in doctor’s offices and clinics, according to the CDC.)

Tips from the state public health department to protect yourself from C-diff:
1. Wash your hands after using the bathroom.
2. Take antibiotics only as prescribed by your doctor.
3. Call your doctor if you have taken antibiotics and get diarrhea within a few months.
4. If you have diarrhea, try and use a separate bathroom, and clean it well if someone with diarrhea has used it.
 

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