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
- 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.