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C Diff Prevention: What you need to know

Hi, and welcome back to our channel.

Today we're going to talk about c diff and all the things you need to know.

First, we're going to run through the importance of c diff.

Then we'll go through the hygiene of c diff prevention as well as the role of antibiotics in c diff infections,

And then going through also ways that you can maintain a healthy gut microbiome to prevent c diff

And as well ways to keep your environment c diff preventive.

[Video Transcript Below Video - it is the same information]

But before we dig into the topic, my name is Marcie Vaske, and I'm a functional medicine nutritionist with Oswald Digestive Clinic.

So I see a lot of clients who struggle with gut health issues including c diff. And if you would like to make an initial appointment, I'm going to link our website HERE where you can do so.

And in addition to that, I'm going to link our free guide, which is 5 Ways to Improve Gut Health HERE.

So let's dig into our topic today of c Diff and what you need to know. So first,

What is c diff infection?

C diff is short for Clostridium difficile in this particular bacteria is a very serious bacteria that can take hold of our gut microbiome.

C diff often causes severe diarrhea as well as abdominal pain, and even life-threatening complications. So just that alone makes it a very serious bacterial infection.

C diff is really primarily caused from an overgrowth of the Clostridium difficile bacteria, which takes a hold of typically in a microbiome that isn't very healthy to begin with.

C-Diff How Do You Get It?

Now, there are a few factors that put you at more of a risk for contracting c diff, and a few of those is a prolonged use of antibiotics, a long stay in hospitals, as well as just an advanced age. So being elderly.

And in addition to that, also having a weakened immune system can set you up for being more at risk for c diff.

Now, in addition to some of those symptoms I mentioned above of severe diarrhea and abdominal cramping, people may experience fevers and nausea.

And if it is left untreated, it can lead to bigger complications. And some of those more serious complications would begin with dehydration, even kidney failure and a condition called toxic mega colon.

And so if you're having those symptoms that I mentioned as far as severe diarrhea, fevers, nausea, abdominal cramping, and it's going on for more than a few days, or it's just very unusual for you to be having this, you definitely want to be making sure you get that tested and make sure that it's not c difficile because we don't want it to turn into something bad.

So now that we know some of the causes and the symptoms of c diff, how can you help prevent that from happening to you?

Preventing C Diff

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And c diff can be very contagious.

And so there's just simple ways to help keep your environment safe.

So a few of the essential hygiene practices will begin with just thorough hand washing, making sure that after you use the restroom or come across contaminated surfaces to at least wash your hands for 20 seconds.

Another one will be proper disinfecting of the environment. So making sure that you're wiping off countertops if someone is sick in your home, making sure that the bathroom is well kept disinfected.

And then of course, washing your hands afterward.

And lastly, avoid sharing personal items. So things like toothbrushes or even sharing towels, that's ways that c diff can be spread.

So now we know a few obvious essential hygiene ways to keep c diff out of your intestinal tract.

And so let's kind of discuss now the role of antibiotics in c diff.

Preventing C.diff (avoiding antibiotics when able)

Antibiotics are absolutely needed when we need them, but in the recent years, there has been an overuse of antibiotics and for some people, they attend to get an infection, take antibiotics, and get an infection again.

And so after three or four rounds of antibiotics, you're really left with a microbiome that is in pretty poor shape. And even after one round of antibiotics, it can be in bad shape.

So just thinking through the amount of antibiotics that you must take. If there's no way out of taking antibiotics, then speak with your healthcare practitioner on ways that you can improve your microbiome while you are taking the antibiotic.

And of course, afterward, this will keep the microbiome healthy and keep that c diff from populating.

Food + Probiotics

So if you've had to take antibiotics, or even if you haven't, how can you maintain a healthy gut microbiome?

And we talk all the time on this channel about how to keep a healthy gut.

And so just to run through a few of those things again, would be number one, making sure that you are eating a whole foods diet.

If your diet is filled with processed or packaged foods, you're really going to be setting your microbiome up for some poor bacteria.

And so you want to make sure that your diet is filled with healthy proteins and fats and vegetables and fruits.

This way it gives a lot of fiber to your microbiome helping to ensure that you have healthy flora.

In addition to that, making sure that you're eating fermented foods.

And it doesn't have to be every day if you're trying to maintain, if you already have a good healthy gut, but throwing it in a few times a week.

So things like sauerkraut or yogurts or kimchi or keefer, those are all going to be good fermentable foods that will help increase the good flora in your gut.

And also, you want to make sure that if you are on an antibiotic and you've finished it, that you do take a probiotic. And a lot of times you can take those two in tandem.

You just need to spread them apart from one another because you don't want to take your probiotic when you're taking an antibiotic.

At the same time, actually the same time of day, the antibiotic will kill your probiotic.

So if you've been on antibiotics, just take a really simple probiotic to help boost that flora Back up.

Cdiff Prevention: Environment

Now, we chatted about some of the ways to keep your environment clean and also one of the places or ways that c diff is contracted.

And one of those is in the hospital, especially in prolonged stays.

So it's very important that if you are in a prolonged situation in the hospital, that you are washing your hands frequently if you can, making sure that you're not touching other surfaces that may be contaminated, because likely if we're in the hospital for a prolonged time where we are obviously sick, and we also would have then a weakened immune system, which this just sets the stage for that c diff to take hold.

Now, of course, one of the causes of contracting c diff is if you have a weakened immune system, individuals that have a weakened immune system will be people who are having chronic infections.

Cancer patients going through treatment and afterward, as well as anyone with an autoimmune disorder, will also be struggling with a bit of a weakened immune system.

And anybody who has gut dysbiosis is going to have more of a weakened immune system because their gut flora isn't as healthy as it needs to be.

So if you're in that category of having a weakened immune system, well, what can you do to make it better?

And I kind of chatted about those already as far as cleaning up your diet and making sure you're having those whole foods taking a probiotic and making sure that you're doing as much as you can for your microbiome.

So just to conclude, you can see that c diff is a very serious disease, and if you've had it or you've known anybody else to have it, how sick you can really get.

And sometimes c diff becomes repetitive.

So if you take an antibiotic to get rid of the c diff, it has the propensity to come, you'll get it again.

And so that happens because some of those bacteria have not been properly eradicated. And so always making sure that you do your full round of antibiotics if you are diagnosed with c Diff, and then following up with some really good probiotics and maybe even saccharomyces boulardii, which is known to keep c diff at a low level and keep it at bay if you've been infected once already.

And in addition to that, doing some of the things that I chatted about today in terms of keeping your environment clean, especially if you're around somebody or a family member that has been diagnosed with c diff or if you're in a hospital for an extended period of time, and if you have a weakened immune system.

So just these little daily things that you can do by keeping things clean, making sure that your gut microbiome is healthy by eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated.

Those are all going to be great ways to keep you from contracting c diff.

Thanks for watching.

functional nutrition dietitian, registered dietitian nutritionist, functional medicine clinic, gut health help, how to improve gut health, functional medicine taking insurance

If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic.  We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.

5 ways to improve your gut health free guide by Oswald Digestive clinic, how to improve gut health, functional nutrition, functional medicine, registered dietitian nutritionist, licensed nutritionist, functional nutrition dietitian

Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH  

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