When you think about bacteria, chances are that you are trying to avoid the harmful effects that come from it. After all, bacteria is commonly followed by sickness and disease; and if you have something caused by harmful bacteria, chances are that you are being prescribed antibiotics to get rid of it.
Indeed, feeling better is something that we all want, but we may not want to eliminate all bacteria in our bodies. There are helpful bacteria that work with our immune system to keep us healthy. And when beneficial bacteria are eliminated, that can put us at risk.
This is the concern that researchers have when considering the spread of Clostridium difficile (better known as C-diff). It is a germ that can grow in the colon after antibiotics kill of other bacteria. C-diff can cause diarrhea and even lead to death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 450,000 Americans were sickened by C-diff in 2011. In fact, it is blamed for nearly 15,000 deaths each year.
Ironically, a number of C-diff cases are linked to germs picked up in hospitals and dentists offices. It is estimated that two-thirds of new cases involve those who have visited a doctor or those who have been recently discharged. As such, the story exemplifies the need for hospitals and other care centers to use reasonable care in cleaning and sanitizing their facilities. Yes, there may be standards established for cleaning rooms, but standards tend to change as new information is learned about how to eliminate harmful germs.