Achoo! Patients with Cystic Fibrosis Say Keep Your Germs to Yourself

There is nothing worse than a summer cold. I should know. I am the proud owner of a bonafide summer cold complete with a runny nose, sore throat, coughing fits, low-grade fever, and watery eyes.

Winter colds are hard enough for those who struggle with respiratory issues like cystic fibrosis (CF) or any other condition that causes a compromised immune system.
Summer colds can be particularly yucky. For that reason, I’m trying really hard to keep my collection of germs to myself.

But sneezes can sneak up on you and can be a real source of problems for anyone with respiratory concerns.

In a recent study, HuffPost UK reported on the impact of airborne droplets for patients with CF and chronic pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.

Not to be indelicate, but their research proved that bacteria-laden droplets projected from the back of our throats can travel up to four feet and hang around for up to 45 minutes. Gross!

In other words… Ew! Source:
Containing sneezes and all those germs can certainly present a challenge. And I’ve noticed the rules keep changing. I’m of the generation that always had a tissue at the ready to catch those pesky sneezes. When I forgot to pull it from my pocket, my mom was quick to admonish me with, “Cover your mouth.” But cover your mouth with what?

The social graces of covering your mouth have changed, too. Hands are out, elbows are in. Think about it. When you’re greeting people, grabbing a seat or entering a restaurant, what’s the first thing you extend? That’s right, your hand. I am a huge believer of hand washing with soap and water, and in a pinch, hand sanitizer. Elbows are a much safer location for germs. The germs are, well, more contained and not waiting to assault the next unsuspecting victim.

Summer colds are the pits. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. So, in an effort to not share them with coworkers and friends who might venture into the fallout zone of my germ-projecting sneezes, I’ll simply follow my mother’s sage advice and “cover my mouth.”

Do you have advice on living with a rare disease or even a summer cold? Share your disease experience today.

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