Written by member Nightwriter
Please note that this information was compiled from numerous threads on the message boards relating to cystic fibrosis symptoms such as Asthma and Allergies. We encourage you to search and read the threads for more detailed information, engage in your own research outside the message boards and, of course, consult with your doctor before making any changes or adding any supplements to your regimen.
How might allergies and chemical sensitivities negatively impact my FEV1, quality of life, and symptoms such as hemoptysis, sinus inflammation, and shortness of breath?
If you have allergies or chemical sensitivities, your entire body can be affected in different ways. You may develop asthma in addition to your CF, you may experience hemoptysis, have additional gastrointestinal issues or fibromyalgia-like symptoms. Additionally, inflammation in your lungs and sinuses creates a breeding ground for infection—the bacteria are trapped and flourish.
You can be tested for allergies, and spirometry can often, but not always, identify asthma by comparing of pre- and post-bronchodilator results. In addition to allergies which may trigger inflammation, irritants may also cause asthma and sinus issues.
What can I do to my environment to improve my respiratory health?
Identifying allergies and chemical sensitivities and removing those triggers may reduce inflammation in your airways and result in better mucus clearance. People with CF/respiratory disease should avoid perfumes, room deodorizers, scented candles and cosmetics, as well as cleaning products with harsh odors and chemicals.
Most household cleaning can be achieved with white vinegar, baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. If you have carpets, steam cleaning works well on dust mites and their feces, but mold can grow if the carpets do not dry out quickly enough. If you must dust furniture, wear a mask. Buy a vacuum with both HEPA and charcoal filters. Consider buying a room air filter.
Encase your pillows and mattress in allergy protectors. If you have comforters, quilts or other fabric products that you don’t want to wash often, put them in the dryer on hot for 10 minutes. Leather or tightly woven upholstery for your furniture is preferable.
Stay away from moldy damp places such as basements.
Consider using a dehumidifier. Consider avoiding activities that put small particle irritants into the air such as home improvement projects (sanding and painting), lawn-mowing, and leaf raking.
Finally, while many people are very attached to their pets, they are associated with increased respiratory problems. If you already have a pet, consider keeping it out of your bedroom and investing in a room air filter. If you do not already have a pet, in may be best to avoid acquiring one.
What are some treatments/medications I can take reduce inflammation?
Everyone should consult their doctor before starting a new medicine, treatment or supplement; in order to get dose and possible interaction information.
CFers who are only on bronchodilators for the mucus clearance regimen might consider an inhaled steroid to reduce inflammation and prevent further need for oral steroids (prednisone). The inhaled corticosteroid may be administered alone or in a combination inhaler with a long-acting bronchodilator.
Some supplements to research are: Omega-3 capsules, Turmeric, and NAC (N-acetylcysteine). The risks and benefits of these products must be considered by both you and your doctor.
What should I consider from a dietary standpoint?
Probiotics are almost always recommended by doctors these days—consider a 12-strain version that requires refrigeration. Some people try to limit their consumption of food dyes, preservatives such as sodium benzoate, and refined sugar or artificial sweeteners. Also, many try to eat organic food.