Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease, the cause of which is the presence of pathological variants of both copies of CFTR gene. The CFTR protein is a channel, which transfers chloride ions. It’s impair leads to damage to different organs and the presence of persistent infections. It occurs because the composition and transport of mucus o respiratory and digestive tracts are violated, the mucus becomes a favorable condition for bacterial agents. They form biofilms, which increase their resistance to protective systems of the body.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (USA), there is close to 70.000 people with cystic fibrosis living worldwide. The British Society for Immunology has published that lung diseases is the leading cause of death in people with CF.
In certain publications it is proposed to reduce contacts of people living with CF with each other to avoid the cross-infection. However, did you know that the risk of it exists outside the hospitals? Here are the recommendations about it from the Cystic Fibrosis Worldwide.
HYGIENE GUIDELINES for People with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) when attending CF related events
Contact with other people with CF (PWCF) may contain a risk of cross infection. Specific bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, can spread from one patient to another. Infection with those bacteria can lead to a decline in lung function. Therefore, when attending events where other PWCF may be present, it is important to follow certain hygienic guidelines, to minimise any possibility of cross-infection. The following recommendations help to limit the risk of cross infection for yourself and the other participants with CF.
Refrain from shaking hands with others (an alternative friendly gesture might be a gentle touch of the arm
or shoulder); Kissing (social or otherwise) is not advisable;
Keep a distance (at least 1 meter) to avoid direct spread of bacteria to another PWCF
Always cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze with disposable tissues;
Regularly wash and dry hands thoroughly or use antibacterial gel, particularly after covering your mouth
to cough and using toilet/bathroom facilities;
When using toilet/bathroom facilities, opt for dispenser soap use in preference to multi-use soap bars and
disposable paper towels instead of hot air hand dryers, where available. Always make sure your hands are
as dry as possible; It is preferable to use your own, personal bathroom.
Use disposable tissues for sputum, throwing them away immediately after use in a (preferably closed) dust
bin (not in the toilet);
Do not share utensils, cups, canned/bottled drinks, etc with others;
Avoid using any ‘dips’ which accompany foods at buffets;
Mouth masks can further limit the risk, but should be replaced regularly
Do not share a room with other PWCF;
When using the washbasin or shower, allow the water to run for 2-3 minutes to dilute present bacteria;
Carry antibacterial hand gel with you at all times, and use at regular intervals to maximise protection;
Do your therapy in your own room whenever possible
Consider these recommendations and check the websites of Cystic Fibrosis Worldwide and your local patients organization for the update before visiting such meetings.