We wash our hands, we take showers or baths, we scrub our homes and do everything and anything in our power to stay germ-free. Who really wants to get sick anyways? Avoiding and preventing illness is the best way to avoid getting sick. So if staying clean is the trick, then keeping ourselves and our homes clean is what we shall do!
But disturbing findings from the University of Houston have uncovered that we are walking all over a harmful bacteria. Worse yet, we’re bringing it into our homes.
Harmful bacteria thriving on shoes and doormats
Researchers took samples of doorsteps and shoes and found a whopping 40 percent of doorsteps, and 39 percent of shoes carried a harmful bacteria. The culprit? C. difficile.
Never heard of it? Well C. difficile is responsible for diarrhea and intestinal conditions. And if you think it’s uncommon, think again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 500,000 Americans are infected annually. An alarming number indeed, but with this new information from the University of Houston it seems we’re literally walking around with the bacteria.
But how are we contracting this bacterium? Well, think about where you walk throughout your day. A park, maybe? City sidewalks, perhaps? These areas can easily get infected. For starters, animal feces can carry C. difficile in spores. Unfortunately, C. difficile doesn’t easily die off. Once it becomes attached to the sole of your shoe it can thrive there for months. Which means you can carry it right into your home.
More about C. difficile
Typically C. difficile can be treated with antibiotics, but over the years it is becoming more difficult to treat. Seniors are at highest risk to the effects of C. difficile landing them prolonged stays within a hospital. Because this population group already has weakened immune systems and has likely taken years of antibiotics their colons become weaker and so the infection caused by C. difficile takes over.
Sadly, C. difficile, especially in seniors, can be life-threatening so prevention is your best defense.
Preventing illness by C. difficile
Now that we know C. difficile sticks to our shoes, we can tread carefully.
The first line of defense is to never wear your outdoor shoes inside the house. Simple right? Make sure you clean your doormat as well.
Other useful precautions include washing your hands and avoiding unnecessary use of antibiotics. Antibiotics can weaken your colon, which makes you more susceptible to the effects of C. difficile. Lastly, if you’re visiting a loved one in a nursing home or hospital make sure you’re wearing protective gear. C. difficile tends to be higher in these areas.
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