Hospital Uses Bleach to Kill Illness - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Hospital Uses Bleach to Kill Illness

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"People that get [C. difficile] can get diarrhea 22 times a day, which you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy," -- Dawn Twenge, Fairview Southdale Infection Preventionist

     In tonight's Healthier Me, a Minnesota hospital is taking extra precautions to stop the spread of a troublesome illness, and Renee Tessman explains how a new kind of disinfectant could be keeping you healthy.

The staff at Fairview Southdale is meticulous when disinfecting rooms, and the cleaning solutions they use kill virtually every germ, but there's one bacteria -- called Clostridium-difficile, or C. difficile -- that is difficult to get rid of.


"People that get it can get diarrhea 22 times a day, which you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy," explains Dawn Twenge, an infection preventionist at Fairview.


Twenge says it can also destroy your colon: "it turns into a spore. That's why its more difficult to kill; it's like an M&M with a shell on it."

But bleach kills it.  So, Fairview Southdale started adding bleach wipes to their cleaning routine in rooms of patients with C. difficile.

Since adding the wipes, they've gone from having a few occasional cases to... none. "It's been zero, month after month in our ICU," Twenge says, "so we're not transmitting it whatsoever."

So, with all the flu and colds going around, you may be wondering if you could use this technique at home. Well... not so much.


"We don't really encourage people to bleach everything at home," Twenge says, adding that while bleach wipes are fine to use after an intestinal bug, washing hands before you touch food or your face is still the best way to keep yourself healthy.


Another tip to avoid getting sick, especially during the flu season? Avoid dipping food directly into the large dip bowls you'll often find at social gatherings -- that's a great place for germs to gather.

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