Written by IACFA, the IACFA Executive Committee, and IACFA’s team of Medical and Scientific Advisors
- In general, think “HYGIENE”. More and increased hygiene in daily life will help to prevent the spread of bacterial lung infections. Often hygiene etiquette is simply common sense and courtesy.
- Use a disposable HANDKERCHIEF or tissue when you cough, particularly if your lungs are infected, as bacteria may be transmitted to other persons with CF by coughing. Use each tissue only once, if possible. Throw it away in an appropriate container. Do not throw it in the toilet where some bacteria may persist for long periods of time, eventually allowing organisms to be released into the air via aerosol droplets caused by the flushing action.
- DISINFECT your hands after coughing when you feel that they may have been contaminated with your sputum, since bacteria in sputum are protected for hours and you may transmit them to other persons without knowing it.
- Do not SHAKE HANDS and do not touch other persons if you suspect that your hands are contaminated with sputum.
- Avoid public toilets. Especially if you are attending an IACFA conference or gathering in which others with CF will be present. Preferably use the toilet in your personal room. Be aware that toilet flushing will create AEROSOLS and close the lid before flushing or protect airways (mouth, nose) during flushing.
- If you are the first person in the morning who uses the water tap of the washbasin, let the cold water run for some minutes (2-3), and stay away from the washbasin in order that the possible bacterial contamination of the SINK is diluted (pushed deeper into the sink drain and beyond any sink reservoir) and bacteria in aerosol spray is dissipated. Do the same when you take a shower.
- Do not share glasses or other drinking and eating UTENSILS with other persons.
- Do not attend gatherings where others with CF are present if you are very ill or have a virus. If you are coughing productively and producing much sputum, please consider the welfare of others in your proximity. If you are ill with a virus please stay away from others with CF.
- Do not perform physiotherapy or take inhalation treatment with others with CF in the same room.
IACFA Hygiene Guidelines by Anna Ruedeberg, M.D. and Gerd Doering, Ph.D., 1994 Above material is copyrighted and if published or used, credit must be given to IACFA.