Also called: C. diff. infections, Clostridium enterocolitis, pseudomembranous colitis

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis. Symptoms include

  • Watery diarrhea (at least three bowel movements per day for two or more days)
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain or tenderness

C. difficile is more common in people who need to take antibiotics for a long period of time.The elderly also have a higher risk of getting it. The infection can spread in hospitals and nursing homes.

Tests of your stool can diagnose C. difficile. Sometimes you might also need imaging tests, to check for complications. Certain antibiotics can treat it. Rarely, there are severe cases that need surgery.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Also called: Stomach flu

Have you ever had the “stomach flu?” What you probably had was gastroenteritis – not a type of flu at all. Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the intestines caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites. Viral gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the U.S. The cause is often a norovirus infection. It spreads through contaminated food or water, and contact with an infected person. The best prevention is frequent hand washing.

Symptoms of gastroenteritis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, fever and chills. Most people recover with no treatment.

The most common problem with gastroenteritis is dehydration. This happens if you do not drink enough fluids to replace what you lose through vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration is most common in babies, young children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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