What is C Diff?

What is Clostridium Difficile Infection or C Diff?

Clostridium difficile is a spore-forming bacterium or germ that normally lives in the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines).  The bacterium causes inflammation of the colon.  It accounts for 15-25% of all antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

What are the symptoms?

  • Watery diarrhea (at least three watery bowel movements per day for two or more days)
  • Abdominal pain/tenderness
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

What increases my risk of acquiring C. difficile?

  • Taking antibiotics
  • Having a serious, underlying illness
  • Advanced age
  • Having surgery

Is C. difficile contagious?

C. difficile is spread by feces.  Any surface that becomes contaminated with spores may spread the disease.  It can be spread from unwashed hands or from unclean items that are shared.  When someone touches the dirty item or surface he or she could get sick.  C. difficile can live for long periods on surfaces for weeks up to 5 months.

Environmental/Home Cleaning Tips:

  • Handwashing with soap and water for 40 seconds.   Handwashing is preferred over the use of hand gel cleaners.   This is a spore and hand gels are NOT EFFECTIVE.
  • Use bleach 1:10 ratio with water to clean all frequently touched surfaces and all hard surfaces in the home.  (Door handles, light switch plates, sinks, floors, tub, toilets, kitchen appliances, refrigerator and oven handles, counter-tops, phone, and shower doors/curtains)
  • It is best to use bleach wipes for high touch surfaces and paper towel to dry hands after frequent handwashing.
  • Clear bathroom sink/shelves of items (toothbrush, grooming supplies, towels, cups…)  Use a plastic shower curtain for daily bleach cleaning.  Avoid using a roll of toilet paper, pre measure toilet paper into single use lengths and use only what is necessary at each voiding/bowel movement.
  • Toilet, seat, handle, lid- should be disinfected after each diarrhea episode to aid in controlling infectious material to reduce the risk of spreading germs.
  • If there are multiple bathrooms in the home, use the same bathroom until C Dif is resolved.
  • If there are multiple family members and availability of more than one bathroom, family members need to not use the same bathroom used for yourself.

Cleaning Solution/Tips:

  • CDC Recommendation is bleach water 1:10 ratio (1 cup bleach: 9 cups water) made fresh daily.
  • Keep surfaces wet with solution and allow to air dry.


There are certain food and food groups that a patient may consider avoiding during this infection.   Whole milk and milk products can cause additional GI upset.


  • Lactose dairy products. It is acceptable to utilize whole milk substitute (eg. Soy milk, Rice milk, Almond milk…).
  • Greasy foods and foods high in fat content are difficult to digest and may cause additional diarrhea episodes.  Use spray oils on cookware.
  • Raw cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, whole grain breads, onions, beans, nuts, seeds as these foods cause bloating.  Cooking these vegetables and fruits will reduce the bloating effects.
  • Fat free foods (ie olestra,olean).
  • Spicy foods.
  • Large amounts of caffeine.

Please call our office nurse at (317) 462-3255 if symptoms seem to worsen while on treatment