Imagine living in another state and receiving news that an elderly family member has been hospitalized for Clostridium difficile, commonly known as C. diff. You’re hundreds of miles away, and hospital caregivers will not let your loved one return home until the entire house is properly disinfected. What do you do? Who do you call for C. diff disinfection?
Last week, our Bio-One team was able to help a family experiencing this overwhelming situation (BIG thanks to Maury at Disaster Doctors for referring Bio-One). And we’re thrilled to report our client is now resting comfortably at home in a safe environment.
Would you know what to do if this happened? Let’s first review some facts about C.diff and then we’ll dive into disinfecting.
Facts about C. diff
C. diff is a bacterial infection that can cause life-threatening diarrhea and colitis (an inflammation of the colon), and it is considered a major health threat. In 2017, there were an estimated 223,900 cases in hospitalized patients and 12,800 deaths in the United States. As stated by the Center for Disease Control, CDC, C. diff infections mostly occur in:
- People 65 and older who take antibiotics and receive medical care.
- People staying in hospitals and nursing homes for a long period of time.
- People with weakened immune systems or previous infection with C. diff.
C. diff germs are transmitted by touching a contaminated surface or material. These germs are typically found in fecal matter, and are notoriously difficult to kill.
How Long Does C. diff Live On a Surface?
According to the CDC, inactive spores are able to live for months and sometimes years on surfaces. The spores become active when they are swallowed and reach the intestines.
To put this in context, the above graphic is a quick comparison between a common cold, the flu, and C. diff in terms of lifespan on hard surfaces and what prevention methods work best, alcohol-based hand sanitizers versus soap and water. As you can see, C. diff is unique. The spores can last well beyond a hospital stay which means decontaminating a home is absolutely necessary. Also, C. diff is a prime example for why you should always thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water after using the restroom, when showering, and before eating.
C. diff Disinfection - What to Do If Prevention Fails
C. diff spores can be found on non-porous and porous surfaces throughout the home. If an infection has occurred, contact the homeowners insurance agent to determine if decontamination is covered under your policy. Also, we don't recommend entering the home, but if you must, you should wear the proper PPE (personal protective equipment). This may include gloves, masks and booties.
The CDC offers a bleach plus water mixture, which is applicable to doorknobs, bathroom surfaces, and kitchen countertops. Clothing, comforters, sheets and towels should also be washed on a hot cycle to ensure proper disinfection. These steps however, do not ensure porous items such as sofas, recliners, hardwood floors, carpet, and more are safe.
This is why our Bio-One team implements a multi-step proprietary process and chemical mixture to ensure comprehensive disinfection. When completed, these steps ensure all surfaces and fabrics are disinfected and ready for use as soon as your loved one returns home.
For more information, contact Bio-One Asheville via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 828-407-0454.