Note: This guide was originally published on cysticfibrosis.com
Written by Imogene
The cystic fibrosis community is at high risk for serious complications from COVID-19. Through a recent survey of the online patient and caregiver CysticFibrosis.com community (200+ participants) conducted by the non-profit CFTechnology.org, we discovered that CF patients are faring quite well at home.
This is in great part because they are the original experts at avoiding germs and maintaining respiratory health. It is worth noting that the CF population live with some of the world’s most threatening bacteria permanently inhabiting their lungs.
From a survey responder (a patient from Wisconsin) we learn that “the rest of the world is now being asked to live how we live every day so I’m able to have different and more valuable conversations with people.”
The survey revealed insight from this community with extensive experience with respiratory illness that could help all of us survive this pandemic.
By following these protocols, here are some proactive ways you may be able to prevent serious complications from the virus.
SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 Any of the following: loss of smell, dry cough, intense chills, headaches, fever, diarrhea, shortness of breath, ear pain, intense chest/back body aches.
- KEEP FEVER UNDER CONTROL
A cold compress (for sweating), blankets (for chills), and lots of liquids (for dehydration) can be helpful in allowing your fever to naturally run its course which evidence shows may help boost your immune system. Follow the guidance of your doctor to keep your fever under control so that you feel better, upright and moving.
- STAY ACTIVE
Pneumonia thrives in inactivity. Get up and walk outside (with distancing and a mask) or exercise at home.
Between naps try to move as you did before you felt ill. Do not allow yourself to just lay around all day. Prop yourself up on many pillows and change positions multiple times per hour. This will help avoid secretions from pooling in certain areas of your lungs. Consider laying on your stomach so the greatest areas of your lungs on your back can still expand.
If possible, get up and get your own food and drink. Your lungs need the movement. Breathing deeply as one does during exercise and engaging your diaphragm allows your lungs to open up and helps keeps your airways clearer.
- BREATHING EXERCISES
Use this breathing technique to keep airways clear – Take a deep breath in through the nose and hold for 5 seconds then exhale through your mouth. Do this 5 times and on the 6th exhale as far as you can until you cough. Repeat this process 2 times.
- Sit or lay for 5-10 minutes every couple of hours and do deep breaths from your diaphragm (belly up and down) to get air into the smallest of airways deep within your lungs.
- (Demonstration by Lauren Brenneman with CF).