Prevention of C. difficile

By Mayo Clinic Staff
To help prevent the spread of C. difficile, hospitals and other health care facilities follow strict
infection-control guidelines. If you have a friend or family member in a hospital or nursing home,
don’t be afraid to remind caregivers to follow the recommended precautions.

Preventive measures include:

●Hand-washing. Health care workers should practice good hand hygiene before and after treating
each person in their care. In the event of a C. difficile outbreak, using soap and warm water is a
better choice for hand hygiene, because alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not effectively destroy
C. difficile spores. Visitors also should wash their hands with soap and warm water before and
after leaving the room or using the bathroom.

●Contact precautions. People who are hospitalized with C. difficile have a private room or share
a room with someone who has the same illness. Hospital staff and visitors wear disposable
gloves and gowns while in the room.

●Thorough cleaning. In any setting, all surfaces should be carefully disinfected with a product
that contains chlorine bleach. C. difficile spores can survive routine cleaning products that don’t
contain bleach.

●Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed for viral illnesses
that aren’t helped by these drugs. Take a wait-and-see attitude with simple ailments. If you do
need an antibiotic, ask your doctor to prescribe one that has a narrow range and that you take for
the shortest time possible.