Get Germ Smart

People with cystic fibrosis (CF) are at greater risk of getting lung infections because thick, sticky mucus builds up in their lungs, allowing germs to thrive and multiply.

Lung infections are a serious problem for those with CF because they can lead to severe or worsening lung disease.

Fortunately, there are steps that people with CF, their family members and caregivers can take to avoid germs whenever possible.

What are germs? 

Germs are tiny organisms that can cause infection. They are invisible to the human eye and exist everywhere — including in the air, soil and water, and on food, plants and animals. Some common types of germs are bacteria, viruses, yeasts and molds.

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How are germs spread?

There are a number of ways that germs can be spread, but the most common are by direct and indirect contact and through the air.

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Why are some germs particularly dangerous for people with CF?

The faulty gene that causes CF affects how salt and water moves in the lungs. This salt imbalance results in thick, sticky mucus that builds up in the lungs, allowing germs to thrive and multiply.

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How can you avoid germs?

While germs cannot be completely avoided, you can help reduce the risk of getting or spreading germs by following three basic best practices: clean your hands, cover your cough and get vaccinated.

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How can you lower the risk of cross-infection?

The latest medical data show that people with CF can spread or get particularly dangerous germs from each other, which can lead to worse symptoms and speed decline in lung function.

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Share animated videos or download fact sheets and posters. Fact sheets and posters are also available in Spanish.


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