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Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile, also called C. diff, is a type of bacteria that can cause a bowel infection.

Symptoms of a Clostridium difficile infection include diarrhoea, a high temperature and feeling sick.

A Clostridium difficile infection is usually treated with antibiotics that are known to kill the bacteria.

Most people get a Clostridium difficile infection while taking antibiotics for another reason. You can catch it from other people.

Read more on the NHS website.

Symptoms of a Clostridium difficile infection include diarrhoea, a high temperature and feeling sick.

Symptoms of a Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection

Symptoms of a C. diff infection usually develop when you're taking antibiotics, or when you have finished taking them within the last few weeks.

The most common symptoms are:

In some cases, you may also have signs of dehydration.

Read more on the NHS website.

A Clostridium difficile infection is usually treated with antibiotics that are known to kill the bacteria.

Medical treatments

Your GP will advise if you need hospital treatment (if you're not already in hospital).

If the infection is mild, you should be able to recover at home.

If you're in hospital, you might be moved to a room of your own during treatment to reduce the risk of the infection spreading to others.

Treatment for C. diff can include:

  • stopping the antibiotics thought to be causing the infection, if possible – in mild cases, this may be the only treatment that's needed
  • taking a 10- to 14-day course of antibiotics that are known to kill the bacteria
  • rarely, serious infections may require surgery to remove a damaged section of the bowel

C. diff infections usually respond well to treatment, with most people making a full recovery in a week or 2.

But the symptoms come back in around 1 in 5 cases and treatment may need to be repeated.

Self-care

If you're well enough to recover from Clostridium difficile (C. diff) at home, the following measures can help relieve your symptoms and prevent the infection spreading:

  • make sure you finish the entire course of any antibiotics you're prescribed, even if you're feeling better
  • drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and eat plain foods, such as soup, rice, pasta and bread, if you feel hungry
  • take paracetamol for tummy pain or a fever
  • do not take anti-diarrhoeal medication, as this can stop the infection being cleared from your body
  • regularly wash your hands and contaminated surfaces, objects or sheets
  • stay at home until at least 48 hours after your last episode of diarrhoea

Your GP may contact you regularly to make sure you're getting better. Call them if your symptoms return after treatment finishes, as it may need to be repeated.

Read more on the NHS website.

Most people get a Clostridium difficile infection while taking antibiotics for another reason. You can catch it from other people.

Read more on the NHS website.