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What is a C. diff. infection?

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Quick Answer

Clostridium difficile, also known as C. diff., is a bacterium that affects the colon, notes Mayo Clinic. It can cause a vast range of symptoms from diarrhea to kidney failure. While it is most prevalent in older adults who are residents in long-term care facilities or hospitals, it can also affect people who have a compromised immune system or are taking antibiotics.

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What is a C. diff. infection?
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Full Answer

In mild to moderate cases of C. diff., a person might experience abdominal cramps. He might have diarrhea three times or more per day for at least two days, notes MedlinePlus. In severe cases of C. diff., a person might have 10 to 15 watery bowel movements per day. He might also suffer from nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever and severe abdominal pain. In these cases, having blood or pus in the stool is also possible, as is kidney failure.

Even though antibiotic use can lead to C. diff., antibiotics are also one of the treatments for the condition, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Keeping the patient hydrated and treating the symptoms are usual treatments for C. diff.

Proper hygiene procedures can help to reduce the transmission of C. diff. The bacterium is found in the fecal matter of an infected person. Because it can live a long time on surfaces, hand washing and proper cleaning are necessary to help prevent the spread of the disease.

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