DFWHC Foundation has launched its C-diff public awareness campaign
The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council (DFWHC) Foundation, which unites North Texas hospital and industry leaders to advance quality healthcare in the region, has launched its fall 2014 public awareness campaign about “C-diff,” a type of acute diarrhea caused by the Clostridium difficile bacteria. The bacterial infection, which is linked to 20,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, is more prevalent among senior citizens, particularly those who take antibiotics and receive medical care.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
– 20,000 Americans die each year from complications related to C-diff;
– 1 in 5 North Texans may carry the C-diff germ;
– 50% of antibiotics are given out are unnecessary;
– 94% of C-diff infections are related to receiving medical care;
– 400% increase in C-diff-related deaths since 2000;
– Half of the infections occur in people under 65, but most of deaths occur with those 65 and older.
The symptoms of C-diff may include abdominal pain or tenderness, cramping, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, and especially watery diarrhea throughout the day and for consecutive days.
“With September being Healthy Aging Month, now is a perfect time to launch this C-diff campaign and help bring more awareness to a very serious health concern in our community,” DFWHC Foundation President Kristin Jenkins, JD, FACHE, said. “When someone takes antibiotics, good germs that protect against infection may be destroyed, so we hope our efforts will empower both patients and physicians to use antibiotics judicially in order to minimize the risk of C-diff infections.”
C-diff is the leading cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitalized patients, disproportionately affecting older adults as well as patients in long‐term and specialty care facilities. The exposure risks are increased by use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, gastrointestinal procedures, and for those with serious underlying health or immune-compromising conditions.
As 1 in 5 North Texans is a possible carrier of the C-diff germ, which is spread via fecal contamination, the best way to protect yourself, your family and community from C-diff is to:
– Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom (hand gel is not enough);
– Take only appropriately prescribed antibiotics (Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about the need for any prescribed antiobiotic);
– Wipe down bathroom and other living area surfaces with bleach, particularly when caring for a loved one who has C-diff.
For more information about C-diff and tips to prevent it, visit StopCDiffNow.org.
This public awareness campaign is brought to you by the DFWHC Foundation Hospital Engagement Network, under contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Contract #HHSM-500-2012-0025.