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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) is an abnormal connection between your trachea and esophagus. Air travels through the trachea into the lungs. The esophagus carries food from the mouth to the stomach. With TEF, food can pass from the esophagus into your lungs. This can cause breathing problems or infections, such as pneumonia.
- Medicines may help relieve your symptoms or treat or prevent a bacterial infection.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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 healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Eat a variety of healthy foods:
Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. You may need to meet with a dietitian to choose the best foods for you.
- Breathing treatments help open your airways so you can breathe easier. A machine is used to change liquid medicine into a mist. You will breathe the mist into your lungs through tubing and a mouthpiece.
- Use a humidifier to moisten the air in your home. The moist air helps you to cough up any mucus from your lungs. Wash the humidifier each day with soap and warm water to keep it free of germs.
- You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils.
- Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information if you need help quitting.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever, chills, or a cough.
- Your voice has changed or become hoarse.
- Your skin, lips, or fingernails are pale or bluish in color.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You are choking and cannot breathe.
- You are coughing or vomiting blood.
- You have trouble swallowing or drinking.
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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.