Cystic Fibrosis In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a lifelong condition that affects your child's lungs, digestive system, and other organs. When your child has CF, his mucus, tears, sweat, and saliva are too thick and sticky. These thick fluids clog his lungs and digestive system. CF typically causes trouble breathing and problems breaking down and absorbing food.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.
- Bronchodilators: Bronchodilators may be given to help open the air passages in your child's lungs to help him breathe easier.
- Mucus thinning medicines: This is a medicine your child breathes in to help thin the mucus in his respiratory system.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines: Your child may need to take ibuprofen or steroid medicine for a short time to decrease inflammation and help him breathe better. Give your child these medicines exactly as ordered by his primary healthcare provider (PHP). Ask for more information about these medicines.
- Pancreatic enzymes: These medicines help your child's digestive system break down food and absorb nutrients properly.
- Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not helping or if he has side effects. Tell your child's primary healthcare provider if your child takes any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines he takes. Include the amounts, and when and why he takes them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.
Follow up with your child's primary healthcare provider or specialist as directed:
Your child's PHP or specialist will need to check his symptoms regularly. He may need changes to his treatment plan. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Airway clearance techniques: Your child's PHP may teach you and your child special exercises to help remove mucus and let him breathe easier. These exercises may be used along with machines or special devices to help decrease your child's symptoms.
- Physical exercise program: You, your child, and his PHP can plan a suitable exercise program for him. Physical activities can help loosen secretions in your child's airways and lungs to help him breathe easier.
Provide your child with healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, beans, and lean meats. He may need extra calories, vitamins, or calcium added to his diet. Your child may need to take pancreatic enzymes to help him better absorb food. Ask your child's PHP for more information about these.
Tips to help your child breathe easier:
- Elevate his head: Your child may have trouble breathing when lying down. Use a pillow or foam wedge to elevate your child's head. This may make it easier for him to breathe. Do not use pillows with a baby.
- Use a humidifier: Use a cool mist humidifier or vaporizer to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for your child to breathe and cough up mucus.
- Avoid smoke: Do not smoke or let anyone smoke around your child. Smoke can make coughing or breathing worse.
Avoid the spread of germs:
- Wash your hands and your child's hands often: Use soap and water. Carry germ-killing gel with you when there is no soap and water. Teach your child to avoid touching his eyes, nose, or mouth unless he has washed his hands first.
- Avoid others who are sick: Keep your child away from people who have a cold or the flu.
Contact your child's primary healthcare provider or specialist if:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child's skin is itchy, he has a rash, or he has other new signs or symptoms.
- Your child has chills or feels weak or achy.
- Your child has trouble sleeping.
- Your child urinates less, has a dry mouth or cracked lips, or feels dizzy.
- You have questions about your child's condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your child coughs up blood.
- Your child has pain in his abdomen that does not go away.
- Your child has trouble breathing.
- Your child's lips or fingernails are turning 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.