CDiff Smell?


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Specializes in Geriatrics, Transplant, Education. Has 15 years experience.
i always hated to go into rooms with patients that had cirrhosis of the liver....


yeah how about lactulose poop--ever noticed it smells like windex from the ammonia?


53 Posts

Specializes in uro/gyn and orthopedics. Has 2 years experience.
Sorry if this sounds gross :) but i keep reading on these msg boards that one of the worse smells in nursing is from a pt witf CDiff after they go to the bathroom.

How does it smell differently from a normal pt? Thats what i dont get

Trust me, you don't want to know... All i can tell you is, if you walk into a patient's room after they go to the restroom, and you smell something that makes you want to hurl all the way into next week, then it is safe to suspect your patient has cdiff.

If you have a stuffy nose, this will open it right up! Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I've noticed patient's that usually get cdiff are patients that are on a lot of antibiotics.


1 Post

It smells like something crawled up there and died....More notably the smell lingers for hours , days.

xtxrn, ASN, RN

4,266 Posts

Another thing that helps deal with any body smell is peppermint extract- just a few drops on a mask, OR putting a few drops on a cotton ball in a 30 cc med cup in the room helps (and at worst, won't hurt :)). In a pinch, if you can get dietary to send up some vanilla extract, it helps, but not as much. Our dietary department quit asking what we were doing with the stuff after getting some graphic details that sent them retching :lol2: Then, most of us just got our own peppermint extract. Neither were met with any sort of problems from the patients (even the ones who could respond!)....

Anybody else deal with 'death breath'??? I'm sure lots have. It's one of those musty smells that generally mean that the BIG adios is coming within 24-36 hours. I've never seen someone rally from death breath....goes with the "o" to "Q" signs. :eek: I worked neuro and head injury/coma stim rehab for years- I don't remember the neuro smell- I remember a lot of smells- just not that one. Hmmm. gotta get the schnoz checked! :clown:

So glad I just had a frozen diet entree!!! :anbd::icon_roll:barf01:

Specializes in Med/Surg, Geriatric, Hospice. Has 14 years experience.
That "neuro smell" or "stroke smell" DEFINITELY comes form the mouth! I think it has to do with poor control over oral secretions, but like the previous poster said, you can do oral care q 15 min and still not get rid of it!

And thank goodness for in-line suction, remember that prevalent psedomonas smell when suctioning......yuck!

Also, is it just me, but whenever I smell bile I want to instinctively it's coming from some evolutionary refex??? (not to be confused with refux, har har!)

The 'neuro' smell is the same as the 'trach' smell for me! I always think people with trachs smell like bleach.


118 Posts

Specializes in Psych.

During my nursing clinicals I was blessed to meet a doctor who loved teaching us interesting things. We had a patient who was there very often due to his liver failure. He was not a candidate for organ transplant because as he stated often "I drank my liver to death and I don't deserve it." He also had a very loud heart murmur and we went in to assess him. Right before going in the room the doctor told us to get close to his mouth and smell his breath. I was shocked by the jaundice this man had but I will never forget that smell. After leaving the room the doctor told us "from now on you can spot liver failure from the first wiff". Thanks doc!

JohnHood, BSN

30 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ER and Administration. Has 37 years experience.

So true.

Wrench Party

823 Posts

Specializes in Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgical. Has 3 years experience.

I worked in a lab too for nearly a decade, and I can instantly smell when someone has candida (sweet, rotting milk smell) or E. coli. We worked with the innocuous version of these bugs. I can also smell Pseudomonas infection in lung patients (has a weird phlegmy/cabbagey/mustardy death smell that corresponds with its horrible green color on plates, and was ridiculously hard to get rid of from cultures and strain plates). Still makes me gag even when I have a mask on and toothpaste under my nose to help with the smell.

C diff really doesn't bother me on the Scale of Blergh, minus the contact precautions. Reminds me of rotting compost crossed with chicken manure.

Specializes in LTC and Pediatrics. Has 3 years experience.

These are smells that once you smell them, you will never forget them.


701 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics, Community Health, School Health. Has 27 years experience.
A question that I have been wanting to ask - but, didn't know how to bring it up (and this thread gave me the perfect opportunity) - Is it inappropriate to gag when dealing with these smells (stool, vomit, etc)? How do you control gagging? Or do you "just get used to it" and you eventually don't have those kinds of reactions?

Vick's vaporub under your nostrils helps a LOT. Keep a little jar of it in your locker


844 Posts

I have never been able to smell CDiff. Ever. I have taken care of countless CDiff + patients and can't smell it (not complaining!!)

GI bleeds? Yup, like someone else said, a mouth full of nickels. GI bleeds I can smell a mile away :bag: