C-Difficile

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In my family, the “Family Business” is nursing. My mother is a nurse, and an associate professor at NMSU, as well as the chairperson for their CNA program. One of my sisters just finished her nursing program and is studying for her NCLEX and my other sister is an ER nurse just starting her DNP program. So when they each, independently, gave me the following advice, I took it to heart, but assumed they were being facetious, and using humor to help me remember a very important health care worker concept: “Pretend everything around you is covered in sh*t.” After reading this article, I realize they were not kidding! C-Difficile is a bacteria found in the intestines of a small number of people. Not all bacteria are bad, particularly when the bacteria are where they are supposed to be. C-Difficile becomes a “bad” bacteria when it overpopulates the intestine, causing stomach cramping and diarrhea. The overpopulation occurs when antibiotics are used to fight the original infection a patient has, and that antibiotic kills off the normal flora living in the intestines. Once that happens, C-Diff is able to make its way out of the intestines and onto health care workers hands, clothing, surfaces (such as call lights and bed rails) and the skin of the patient. It is transmitted via the fecal-oral route, simply meaning that infected feces made its way into someone’s mouth, causing an infection. An infected person can spread the bacteria by having a bout of diarrhea, not washing their hands with soap and water, and then touching an object, leaving spores on it. Another person comes along, touches the same object, and picks the spores up. That second person (with unwashed hands) then touches their face, mouth or prepares food, and ingests the spores, introducing the bacteria into their body. C-Diff is able to lay dormant on surfaces for a very long time because it is both anaerobic and spore forming; meaning it does not need oxygen to live, and it forms a spore, protecting...
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