8 April 2019
Having the flu vaccine is strongly recommended for all people with CF and all their family members, and should be given at the beginning of winter every year. You can make an appointment with your GP from April. The vaccine is free for people with CF, but family members will still need to pay.
Hand washing/hand gel
Still the number one way to avoid catching or passing on infections. Encourage handwashing after coughing or sneezing, before eating and when around other people who are sick at work and school (if you can’t avoid them completely!).
Regular exercise and fresh air
It’s tempting to stay inside (away from all the bugs) over winter, but fresh air is mentally and physically beneficial to your health and we all know regular exercise is crucial for good lung health in CF. So wrap up warm but get out there!
If you can fit it into your schedule, doing an extra physiotherapy or nebuliser session each day may help keep bugs at bay by continuing to clear the thick mucus in your lungs, making it less easy for infections to bind to the mucous. Increasing the number of physio sessions each day is especially useful when you have a viral infection, as people produce more mucous than usual at this time.
Clean physio equipment
At this time when there are more viruses around, be vigilant about cleaning your nebuliser and physio equipment after each use – they are a direct path to your lungs. Make sure you wash your hands before using the equipment each time.
Get on top of infections early
Contact your GP if you feel a cold is not improving after week or two (or the timeframe advised by your specialist), don’t ‘wait it out’.
Your body needs more calories when the weather gets cold and people with CF particularly need to maintain weight gain for good lung growth so lots of lovely comfort foods should be eaten over the winter.