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About Us - Our Performance - Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) - How to stop the spread


1. Practice good hand hygiene.

As C. difficile bacteria are mainly spread by unwashed hands, always wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet. 


Washing hands with soap and water is the preferred hand hygiene method, as C. difficile produces spores which are not killed by alcohol. However, if handwashing facilities are unavailable, the use of a hand sanitizer is best until a sink is available.


Wash hands frequently for at least 15 seconds, especially:

  • after visiting the washroom,
  • before handling, preparing, serving or eating food,
  • when hands look or feel dirty,
  • after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing,
  • when providing care to an ill person,
  • when visiting a hospital or long-term care home,
  • at the entrance of the facility,
  • before entering a patient’s room,
  • upon leaving a patient’s room,
  • before providing any hands on care,
  • after providing any hands on care,
  • before eating,
  • after eating,
  • at the exit of the facility, and
  • after changing a baby’s diaper.

2. Use antibiotics wisely.


To limit the development of new antibiotic resistant organisms, we all have to use antibiotics properly. 

It is important to:

  • Finish any antibiotics prescribed for you, even if you feel better before they are gone. If you do not take all of your antibiotics, some of the stronger bacteria will not be killed and these may develop antibiotic resistance.
  • Use antibiotics only for serious bacterial infections. Antibiotics do not kill viruses like influenza (the “flu”) and the common cold, and so you should not take antibiotics for them. By taking an antibiotic when it is not needed, you could be helping the bacteria in your body to develop resistance to that antibiotic.
  • Only take antibiotics prescribed for you; do not share them with others who have a similar illness.


3. Stay healthy.  

If you have diabetes you should aim to keep your blood sugars between 4 and 7 through diet, exercise and medication.

  • Exercise regularly,
  • Don’t smoke,
  • Eat a healthy diet that consists of 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables, 5-6 servings of grains (cereals, bread, rice, etc.), 2 servings of milk or other diary products and 2-3 servings of proteins such as meat and eggs daily, and
  • Get your flu shot annually.

Visit the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Seasonal Flu page or the Influenza Information Sheet from the York Region Health Services Department, Public Health Branch, Infectious Diseases Control Division.


4. Clean your environment. 

In addition to practicing good hand hygiene, thoroughly clean the person’s environment (bedroom, bathroom, equipment) to prevent further spread of the organism. For C. difficile it is important to clean using friction to remove as much of the contamination as possible. At home use an all purpose household cleaner and follow the directions on the label.


Be sure to:

  • Remove any visible feces (stool) prior to starting the cleaning process.
  • Always clean in the direction of least soiled to heaviest soiled areas.
  • Wet the surface well and clean using good friction.
  • Pay special attention to frequently touched surfaces and areas that may be soiled with feces such as the toilet and sink. For heavily soiled areas you may want to disinfect the area using a solution of 5 ml (1 teaspoon) of household bleach mixed with 1 litre of water. Apply the solution to the surface after cleaning and allow surface to air dry.

Note: No special precautions are required for handling dishes or waste.


5. Clean clothes/fabric. 

Wash clothes/fabric separately if they are heavily soiled with feces (stool):

  • rinse off feces,
  • clean in a hot water cycle with soap,
  • dry items in the dryer on high heat if possible, and
  • dry clean where appropriate.

C. difficile is resistant to sunlight; therefore drying clothes in the sunlight will not kill the C. difficile spores.

Mackenzie Health / 10 Trench St. Richmond Hill, On. L4C 4Z3 / Richmond Hill Line: 905-883-1212 or Vaughan Line: 905-832-4554 / TTY Service: 905-883-2123