Preventing C Difficile Infection

Preventing C difficile infection through the correct procedures is possible. These are the cleansing and washing practises best suited to the individual person and private home if you believe you may have come in contact with the Clostridium difficile bacteria.

It is known that the most likely place to come across the C difficile infection is within the hospital environment.

So - what to do if you're visiting someone in hopsital and want to ensure that you don't fall prey to this nasty bug which has over the last decade developed a superbug strain?

wash your hands with soap and water

Possibly that sounds just too simple but scientific studies have shown that thorough washing of hands with soap and water is one of the best methods to get rid of the spores which have been know to last for years on inadequately cleaned surfaces.

The spores get transmitted via infected surfaces to your mouth so don't touch your face and mouth area with your hands until you are sure you have thoroughly washed.

Use a chlorhexidine based wash if at all possible but ordinary soap and water will do if you are thorough.

Alcohol based washes do not work against this bacteria and some experts believe that the current rise in C difficile infections is due to hospitals relying more and more on the alcohol based skin cleaners.

Physical barriers work very well so wearing gloves to avoid touching any surfaces such as door handles is a good preventative measure. Remove gloves carefully and discard.

And if you don't want to look as if you think there are bugs crawling on every hospital surface - and there will be! - use your imagination. If you're young and trendy, buy a pair of fashionable gloves and discard. If it's cold, wear woolen mitts. Fake a skin complaint on your hands and wear gloves saying it is for the PATIENTS protection!

Carry a scarf or cap - appropritate to the weather - and put your hand inside of that to turn door handles etc.

If you suspect that your bathroom surfaces may be contaminated then clean with detergent and water and then wipe surfaces with household bleach. (Undiluted bleach can cause skin and eye damage and will damage fabric so use carefully.) Cleaning with detergent only is not very effective although any sort of cleaning is better than nothing.

Use gloves whilst cleansing any suspect surface.

You might be interested in this page on the two best probiotics against C diff infection.

Chlorhexidine Based Washes



1. Dale N. Gerding, Carlene A. Muto, Robert C. Owens, Jr. Measures to Control and Prevent Clostridium difficile Infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2008;46:S43–S49.