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Ways to Limit Germs

Infection Control in Daily Life 

Hand Washing
Infection control extends to all areas of your life, such as your home, your community (work, school, shopping), the outpatient clinic and the hospital when you’re admitted.

It’s also important to remember that you can get germs from others who don’t have CF.

Viruses and bacteria that are common to many people can be especially hazardous to a person with CF.

Good hygiene habits at home or work can help keep you at your healthiest.

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    The CDC Says You Should Clean Your Hands... 

    •  After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    •  Before and after your inhaled medicines and airway clearance.
    Before, during and after preparing food or eating.
    After touching trash.
    •  After using the toilet or changing diapers, or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.
    •  After touching an animal or animal waste.
    Watch the Webcast, "Infection Control & Germs" to learn more.

Myth Busters
  • "There is too much of a fuss made about CF infection control. Hanging out with my friends with CF won’t hurt anything."

    There is documented evidence of germs spreading between people with CF. Some of these cases have lead to a serious health decline of the people involved.

    Using other ways — over the internet and by email or telephone — to communicate with your friends with CF will help protect you and your friends from getting or spreading germs to others with CF.

    "If others aren’t sick, they can’t spread germs." 

    No! Even if a person isn’t visibly ill, they can still spread germs to other people.

  • "Using vinegar is a good way to clean your respiratory equipment."

    No! Vinegar is not effective in killing the germs most common in CF. Always follow the CF Foundation guidelines in your daily cleaning of respiratory equipment.

  • Read the CF Care Guidelines on Infection Control to learn more.

Tips for Reducing Infection

  • Keep hands clean — wash them! — at home and in public places.

  • Clean and disinfect/sterilize respiratory equipment properly.

  • Keep up with your daily treatments, including:

    • Do your daily airway clearance.

    • Take your medications to help clear secretions by either thinning the secretions (e.g., Pulmozyme®) or rehydrating them so they are easier to cough out (e.g., hypertonic saline).

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      What is the Right Way to Wash Your Hands? 

      •  Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
      •  Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
      •  Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
      •  Rinse your hands well under running water
      •  Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
      •  Turn off the water with a paper towel and then throw it away.
      Bacteria need mucus in order to thrive and grow. When you clear mucus out, you slow down the process!

    • Inhale your prescribed antibiotics deeply to fight infection and decrease the amount of bacteria in your lungs (e.g., TOBI®, Cayston®).

    • Take your medications that reduce the amount of inflammation or swelling in your lungs (e.g. ibuprofen, azithromycin).

  • Take antibiotics as prescribed. Antibiotics are medications that kill or slow the growth of certain germs.

  • Avoid sharing items that can have germs from household members whether or not they have CF. This includes toothbrushes, eating utensils, drinking cups and respiratory equipment.

  • Get your yearly flu shot and other immunizations including pneumococcal and pertussis (whooping cough).

  • Remind your loved ones, close contacts and caregivers to keep up with their yearly flu shots and other immunizations too!

  • Avoid using humidifiers or misting systems in your home. If not disinfected well, these systems may be a great place for bacteria and fungus to grow.

Stay Tuned! 

There will be updated infection control guidelines soon. 

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Updated 07/20/12