WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a lifelong condition that affects your lungs, digestive system, and other organs. When you have CF, your mucus, tears, sweat, and saliva are too thick and sticky. These thick fluids clog your lungs and digestive system. CF typically causes trouble breathing and problems breaking down and absorbing food.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
- Bronchodilators: You may need bronchodilators to help open the air passages in your lungs, and help you breathe more easily.
- Mucus thinning medicines: This is a medicine you breathe in to help thin the mucus in your respiratory system.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines: You may need to take ibuprofen or steroids for a short time to decrease inflammation in your lungs and help you breathe more easily.
- Pancreatic enzymes: These medicines help your digestive system break down food and absorb nutrients properly.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or specialist as directed:
Your primary healthcare provider (PHP) will need to check your symptoms regularly. You may need changes to your treatment plan. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
You may need extra oxygen if you have breathing problems. You breathe the oxygen through a face mask or through short, thin tubes that rest just inside your nose.
- Airway clearance techniques: Your PHP may teach you special exercises to help remove mucus and let you breathe easier. These exercises may be used along with machines or special devices to help decrease your symptoms and risk of infections.
- Get plenty of exercise: Talk to your PHP about the best exercise plan for you. Physical activities can help loosen secretions in your airways and lungs, and help you breathe easier. Exercise can decrease your blood pressure and improve your health.
Eat healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, beans, and lean meats. You may need extra calories, vitamins, or calcium added to your diet. You may need to take pancreatic enzymes to help you better absorb your food. Ask your PHP if you need to be on a special diet.
Tips to help you breathe easier:
- Rest or sleep with your head elevated: You may have trouble breathing when lying down. Use pillows or foam wedges to elevate your head. This may help you breathe easier.
- Use a humidifier: Use a cool mist humidifier or a vaporizer to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for you to breathe and cough up mucus.
- Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoke can make your coughing or breathing worse. If you smoke, ask for information about how to stop.
Avoid the spread of germs:
- Wash your hands often: Use soap and water. Carry germ-killing gel with you when there is no soap and water available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have washed your hands first.
- Cover your mouth when you cough: Cough into a tissue or your shirtsleeve so you do not spread germs from your hands.
- Avoid others who are sick.
For more information:
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
6931 Arlington Road, Suite 2000
Bethesda , MD 20814
Phone: 1- 800 - 344-4823
Web Address: http://www.cff.org
Contact your primary healthcare provider or specialist if:
- You have a fever.
- You have a rash, itchy skin, or other new signs and symptoms.
- You urinate less, have a dry mouth or cracked lips, or feel dizzy.
- You have chills or feel weak or achy.
- You have trouble sleeping.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You cough up blood.
- You have pain in your chest or trouble breathing.
- Your lips or fingernails turn blue or white.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.