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Your child has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease that affects the lungs. It plugs them with mucus and makes it hard to breathe. If the mucus isn’t cleared out of the lungs, it will trap bacteria and other germs, which can lead to serious infections. Cystic fibrosis also affects the digestive system. The mucus obstructs the pancreas and prevents enzymes from breaking down and absorbing food. This can cause stomachaches and make it difficult for your child to gain weight. Here are some things you can do to help your child.
Keep your child’s lungs clear of extra mucus, which can trap germs. Learn to perform postural drainage and percussion on your child to help with this. Ask your health care provider for instructions.
Remind your child to wash his or her hands often and to keep them away from the face.
Ask your doctor about a yearly flu shot or pneumonia vaccination.
Avoid crowds, especially in the winter, when more people have colds and flu.
Learn about the special dietary needs of your child. Your child may need pancreatic enzymes to help with digestion.
Give your child salty foods to eat and plenty of fluids.
Give your child vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are especially important.
Be aware of any food allergies. Avoid foods that cause stomachaches or diarrhea.
Encourage your child to exercise.
Help your child avoid allergens, pollution, dust, smoke, or anything that could interfere with breathing.
Be sure to give your child all medications exactly as instructed.
Keep all follow-up appointments. Cystic fibrosis is a chronic disease. Your child will need regular medical care for life.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
Call your doctor right away if your child has any of the following:
Severe constipation or diarrhea, abdominal pain, or vomit that is dark green
Blood in the mucus, increased amounts of mucus or change in the consistency or color of the mucus
Trouble doing normal activities
Decreased energy or appetite
Shortness of breath that is not relieved by medication or by percussion and postural drainage