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Cystic Fibrosis in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is cystic fibrosis (CF)?

CF is a lifelong condition that affects your child's lungs, digestive system, and other organs. Mucus, tears, sweat, and saliva become so thick and sticky that they clog the lungs and digestive system. CF typically causes problems with breathing and with breaking down and absorbing food.

What are the signs and symptoms of CF?

The first sign of CF in your newborn is that he or she is not able to have a bowel movement. Your child may often have respiratory infections, such as sinusitis, bronchitis, or pneumonia. He or she may also have any of the following:

How is CF diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will ask if anyone in your family has CF. CF is a genetic disorder. The provider will also ask about your child's symptoms. Your child may need any of the following tests:

How is CF treated?

CF cannot be cured. Treatment may help your child breathe more easily, prevent infections, or absorb nutrients.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to help my child breathe more easily?

What can I do to help my child stay healthy?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.