My friend has CF

If you have a friend with cystic fibrosis (CF for short) they might find it annoying having to explain what the condition is over and over again. So we’ve created this page to help get you up to speed! Find out all about CF and what it means for your friend.

  • What is CF?

    Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition, which means people with CF are born with it and will never stop having it. Everyone has mucus in their bodies, but people with CF have thicker, stickier mucus. This can be a problem for the lungs and digestive systems of people with CF – the sticky mucus can build up and cause lung infections and digestive problems.

  • What does someone with CF do to stay well?

    People with CF have to work hard every day to stay well, so if you have a friend with CF at school there might be a few things they do that you don’t have to:

    • Doing physiotherapy, or exercises, throughout the day that help them to clear their lungs of sticky mucus.
    • Taking tablets called ‘Creon’ when they eat so that they absorb all the good stuff from their food.
    • Taking antibiotics – this can be by taking a pill, using an inhaler or even intravenously (directly into the veins). These medications attack the bacteria that cause infections and make people with CF feel poorly.
    • Eating more fatty foods, like chocolate and roast potatoes, so that they don’t lose weight.
    • Avoiding people with nasty coughs or colds so that they don’t get sick.
    • Taking time off school for hospital or doctor’s appointments.
    • Getting up early to fit in all their treatments – your friend might be more tired at school.
  • How can I help?

    You probably won’t need to help your friend with any of their treatments – people with CF tend to be experts at taking their tablets or doing their exercises! But your friend might need some support if they’re having a hard time or might appreciate a chat when they have to take time off school. Being in hospital for weeks can be pretty lonely, and it’s always nice to get a text from a friend.

Watch now

Check out these videos for more information about CF and how it affects your friend.

Open CF: What's it all about? | A film for children video

CF: What's it all about? | A film for children

Join Layla, Zaara, Jason, Jack and Noah as we find out more about cystic fibrosis (CF)!

Open The A to Z of cystic fibrosis | What is cystic fibrosis? video

The A to Z of cystic fibrosis | What is cystic fibrosis?

From A to Z, find out more about what cystic fibrosis is and how it affects your friend.

Open The rest is up to me (a guide for friends) | for older children and teens video

The rest is up to me (a guide for friends) | for older children and teens

Hear from six young people about what it's like to live with cystic fibrosis.

I can't go to school today: Jasper's story

This powerful animation tells the story of Jasper, who has CF, the daily effect it has on his life, and what it’s like juggling school and the complications of his condition. The video was produced by Mosaic Films for BBC Learning and won a Children’s BAFTA. Hear from Jasper himself about what it was like working on the project.

Watch Jasper's story

Young lives

Are you aged 14-25 years with cystic fibrosis? Do you want to make change happen? Tell us all about it!

Look closer

Our interactive body gives you the lowdown on the affects of cystic fibrosis, from head to toe.


Public awareness of cystic fibrosis is low; here's your chance to find out the most commonly asked questions about it.

cf youth

CF youth

Are you a young person with CF, or close to someone with the condition? We have loads of events, support and opportunities for you to get involved with!

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