The 'hospital infection' you could get anywhere

It's quickly turning into one of the nation's leading killers -- and nearly everything you're being told about it is flat-out false.

The CDC wants you to believe you have to be hospitalized to get exposed to Clostridium difficile, a drug-resistant superbug that can cause severe and even deadly diarrhea. But the truth is, you've probably been exposed already -- and that C. diff is inside you right now, quietly biding its time, waiting for its chance to strike and make you ill.

Don't panic, because today I'm going to give you the secret to making sure it never has that chance. But first, proof the government is wrong on this: A new study shows that nearly two-thirds of all people sickened by C. diff don't pick up the bacteria in the hospital at all.

The genetic analysis of C. diff infections at four Oxford University hospitals finds that just 13 percent are from direct contact with the bacteria inside the hospital ward while 22 percent are from elsewhere in the hospital. That means 65 percent of infections are acquired outside the hospital.

But while hospitals aren't the main source of exposure, they are where people usually get sick -- and that's because hospitals are where the C. diff bugs you picked up elsewhere get their chance to thrive.

To understand how and why this happens, I need to tell you a little about the human gut.

Right now, your gut is loaded with bacteria, both good and bad. You're carrying around between 3 and 5 pounds of them.

If you're healthy, odds are most of them are the good bugs your body needs. And when you get sick, there's a good chance the bad are starting to outnumber the good.

But let's assume for a minute you're healthy, and you -- like so many millions of Americans -- have been exposed to C. diff somewhere along the way.

You don't get sick immediately because the good bacteria in your gut keep it under control. The problems only begin when you take an antibiotic, which kills off all those good bugs.

Since C. diff is resistant, it becomes the sole survivor -- and that's when it seizes the opportunity to take control and make you sick.

In other words, it's not the bugs... it's the drugs. And the number one place most people get those drugs is of course hospitals and other care facilities -- which is exactly why this bug is so strongly linked to hospitals, even if that's not where you pick it up.

Fortunately, there's an easy way to stay healthy and make sure you never suffer infection with C. diff, even if it's lurking in your gut right now, and you can start with these two simple steps:

1) Take a quality probiotic supplement every day. You want something with multiple strains of human-tested bacteria -- and you want one with billions of colony-forming units to help make sure the good always outnumber the bad.

2) Avoid antibiotics when you can. And in many cases, you can -- because common infections such as UTIs, respiratory infections, ear infections, strep throat and more can often be beaten without drugs.

Of course, there may be times when you'll need those meds -- and when that's the case, don't turn them down. Just be sure to increase your probiotic dose while you take the drugs, and continue with that higher level for at least a month afterward.

And whenever you take an antibiotic, be sure to add a supplement that contains Saccharomyces boulardii, a probiotic yeast proven to beat C. diff infections.

For more on probiotics -- including how to choose a supplement for daily support and overall good health -- see the May 2012 issue of my Health Revelations newsletter.

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