This week we had the honor to speak with Christian John Lillis. Christian is executive director of the Peggy Lillis Foundation for C. diff Education & Advocacy (PLF), co-founded with his brother, Liam, following the death of their mother from a Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) infection in April 2010. PLF envisions a world where C. diff is rare, treatable, and survivable. In pursuit of its vision, PLF is building a nationwide C. diff awareness movement to educate the public, empower advocates, and shape policy.
C. difficile or C-Diff is short for the name of the germ that causes the infection: Clostridioides difficile. C. difficile can affect anyone. The risks are greater for people who:
Are taking, or have recently taken, antibiotics
Have spent some time in a hospital or in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home
Have a weakened immune system
Are 65 years of age or older
When C. difficile germs take hold and multiply in the gut (intestines),
they can wreak havoc. This center of gut health is called the microbiome. When it gets out of balance your health is at risk, and infections like C. difficile can result. The most common symptoms—watery diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain or cramps—can last for days. If not treated right away, C. difficile can lead to serious medical problems for the person who has it. A severe C. difficile infection can be fatal for certain people.
Many people may not realize that getting a relapse of the infection is highly possible. This is called recurrent C. difficile. Did you know? C. difficile is very contagious and can become a serious health threat to others in the home and the community.