Three easy ways to stop this common springtime bacterial infection

A deadly digestive disease that peaks in the spring is infecting more and more people and is potentially fatal.

Our own medical system has encouraged this epidemic … but you can reverse the risk with a few simple precautions.

It’s called Clostridium difficile, also known as C. diff. It’s a troublesome bacteria that causes digestive pain, diarrhea, dehydration and possibly death, and is tough to eradicate. It is also frequently antibiotic-resistant.

A study at the University of Austin shows that more than 2 million people have developed this infection during the past 15 years.

Much of the epidemic is linked to mainstream medicine and passing out antibiotics as soon as anyone sneezes or thinks they’re developing a cold or flu – even though these are viral illnesses that can’t even be treated with antibiotics, they’re only effective against bacteria.

This fondness for antibiotics has wiped out much of the friendly bacteria in our guts and allowed the bad guys like C. diff to flourish. C. diff infections appear to peak in the springtime following antibiotic use over the winter months, because it generally takes one to two months following antibiotic exposure for C. diff to develop.

And although up till now, antibiotics have been the chief weapon against C. diff, you often get this disease after you take antibiotics. But the C. diff pathogen, after being exposed again and again to antibiotics, is developing resistance to the antibiotics that are supposed to wipe it out.

Fecal transplants, where you take fecal matter from a healthy person and transplant it into someone with C. diff. is turning out to be the best treatment for the disease. It allows healthy bacteria to grow in the digestive tract and deprive the C. diff bug from having a home. The fecal transplants are now available as a pill.

To lower your risk for C. diff

  • Don’t take antibiotics unless you absolutely need them for a true bacterial infection.
  • Don’t take PPI (proton pump inhibitors) for acid indigestion.
  • If you are in a hospital or other healthcare facility, wash your hands often to avoid letting the bacteria enter your body. Make sure everyone else is frequently washing their hands too.

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Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.