Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

There are many things you can do at home to minimize cystic fibrosis complications. Always talk to your doctor before starting home remedies.

Better nutrition

Cystic fibrosis can cause malnourishment because the enzymes needed for digestion can't reach your small intestine, preventing food from being absorbed. People with cystic fibrosis need 50 percent more calories daily than people without the condition. The best possible nutrition also is necessary to maintain good lung function. In addition to enzyme replacements prescribed by your doctor, consider adding:

  • Supplemental high-calorie nutrition
  • Special fat-soluble vitamins
  • Extra fiber to prevent intestinal blockage
  • Extra salt, especially during hot weather

Drink lots of fluids

Increasing fluid intake can help thin the mucus in your lungs.

Keep immunizations up to date

In addition to other usual childhood vaccines, people with cystic fibrosis should have the annual influenza vaccine. Cystic fibrosis doesn't affect the immune system, but children with cystic fibrosis are more likely to develop complications when they become sick.


Regular exercise helps loosen mucus in your airways, and strengthens your heart and lungs. For many people with cystic fibrosis, participating in sports can improve confidence and self-esteem. Anything that gets you moving, including walking and biking, can help.

Eliminate smoke

Don't smoke in your home or car, and don't allow other people to smoke around your child. Secondhand smoke is harmful for everyone, but especially for people with cystic fibrosis.

Encourage hand-washing

Teach all the members of your family to wash their hands thoroughly before eating, after using the bathroom, when coming home from work or school, and after being around a person who is sick. Hand-washing is the best way to protect against infection.

June 13, 2012