What are the symptoms of CF?

Children with CF may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Gas and stomach pain from problems with digestion
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent coughing, at times with phlegm
  • Frequent lung infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Slow growth/weight gain in spite of good appetite
  • Salty sweat
  • Spikes and drops in blood sugar from Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (CFRD)
  • Longer-than-expected recovery time from colds and viruses
  • Depression or anxiety
    • Related to the challenges of living with a chronic health condition
    • Concern about “being different”  than their peers

How is CF treated?

Treatment varies depending on the child, but may include:

  • Airway clearance therapy (ACT) which is performed one or more times each day
    • These are treatments that help people with cystic fibrosis (CF) stay healthy and breathe easier.
    • ACTs loosen thick, sticky lung mucus so it can be cleared by coughing or huffing.
      • Clearing the airways reduces lung infections and improves lung function.
      • For infants and toddlers, ACTs can be done by almost anyone.
      • Older kids and adults can do their own ACTs.
  • Mucus thinner to make it easier to cough mucus out
    • Bronchodilator to help open the airways
      • Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling in the lungs
        • High calorie/high protein diet
          • Frequent meals or snacks for weight gain and growth
          • Pancreatic enzymes and vitamins
            • To help with digestion and nutrient absorption
          • Antibiotics to treat lung infections
          • Insulin and glucose monitoring to treat their diabetes
          • Regular exercise
          • Counseling to help children and their families cope with the stress of a chronic health condition
          • Good oral health care to ensure healthy teeth and gums
            • Medications may affect oral health

          Since each child is affected differently, be sure to learn about specific needs of each child and ways to ensure a successful school year.