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Treating Children with Cystic Fibrosis in Northern California

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease that can damage the respiratory tract and digestive system. Complications can develop soon after birth. All newborn babies in the US undergo cystic fibrosis screening. At Dignity Health North State, we diagnose many babies and begin treatment before serious cystic fibrosis symptoms develop.

Use our Find a Doctor tool to make an appointment with a doctor who has experience treating infants and children with cystic fibrosis in Northern California. Our medical centers include: 

We also offer comprehensive, personal maternity care and prenatal testing for expectant mothers.


What Causes Cystic Fibrosis?

A defective CFTR gene causes cystic fibrosis. For a child to be born with cystic fibrosis, both parents must carry the defective gene and pass it to their child. People with cystic fibrosis secrete abnormally thick mucus that can make breathing difficult and greatly increase the risk of lung infections. The thick mucus also causes intestinal problems. 


Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

Common cystic fibrosis symptoms in babies and older children include: 

  • Constipation (your newborn may not pass a bowel movement after birth)
  • Difficult, or labored breathing
  • Coughing and spitting up mucus 
  • Frequent lung infections
  • Poor growth
  • Saltier-than-normal sweat
  • Wheezing


Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Options at Dignity Health North State

There is no cure for cystic fibrosis in babies, but with an early diagnosis and advances in treatment, many children with cystic fibrosis live into their late 30s or 40s. Your child’s doctor will help you understand the condition, answer your questions, and explain all available treatments. 

Treatment options for cystic fibrosis include:

  • Chest physical therapy every day to loosen thick mucus, which makes it easier to remove, improves breathing, and decreases the risk of infection 
  • Medications to help prevent and treat lung infections, thin the excess mucus, improve breathing, and aid digestion
  • Nutritional supplements to ensure your child is receiving enough vitamins and other nutrients, which supports growth and good health 
  • Targeted therapy ivacaftor (Kalydeco) to improve the function of the abnormal CFTR protein in people with specific gene defects (mutations) 

Because the severity of cystic fibrosis in infants and children varies considerably, we tailor your child’s treatment to meet their specific needs. For serious symptoms of cystic fibrosis in babies, our neonatal intensive care unit provides lifesaving treatment at Mercy Medical Center in Redding.

Talk to your doctor for more information about our personalized treatment of cystic fibrosis in Northern California.

Dignity Health North State delivers comprehensive and family-centered care for cystic fibrosis in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.