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I Have Cystic Fibrosis and I'm Sick. Do I Need to See a Doctor?

When to Call Us

If you have the following signs and symptoms, or a combination of symptoms, please call to be seen by a member of our CF team.

  • Fevers of 100.4 or higher in the past two weeks
  • Fatigue or being more tired than normal for more than two weeks
  • Missing significant amounts of work or school during the past two weeks
  • Poor appetite during the past two weeks
  • Weight loss or poor weight gain compared to the last clinic visit
  • Increased coughing
    • Frequency
    • Duration
    • Intensity
  • Major change in sputum
    • New onset
    • Increased sputum
    • Change in consistency
    • Change in chest congestion
    • New or increased hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Worsening shortness of breath at rest
  • Increased work of breathing or respiratory rate

If you have any of these symptoms, increase your airway clearance treatments to four times a day. Ask your CF care team if you should increase your breathing medications.

If you feel you need to be admitted to the hospital, please call for an appointment. You must be seen by a physician before admission. Call (208) 381-7092 during regular business hours or (208) 514-2525 after hours.

Managing a Cold at Home

If cold symptoms arise, but not to the level described above, here are some tips that will help you manage the cold at home:

  • Increase airway clearance. If airway clearance is usually done twice each day, increase to 3-4 times per day.
  • If any inhaled medications are on an as-needed basis, such as Hypersal 7%, start using them now.
  • Call your primary care doctor.
  • Take care of yourself. Rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Make sure nebulizer cups are cleaned and disinfected, as instructed.
  • Wash your hands often and dispose of soiled tissues.
Call the CF clinic if the cold symptoms persist for 3 days or more and are not clearly improved. Call sooner if there is fever, chest pain, blood in the sputum, increased difficulty breathing, fatigue, changes in baseline symptoms, or if the cough interrupts sleep. If in doubt, always call.