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!

Here, you can find out all about CF and what it means for your friend.

What's it all about?

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.

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.

Find out more

We’ve got loads of useful stuff that can help you learn more about cystic fibrosis.

For younger kids, take a look at our video, 'Getting Nosey about CF with Oli and Nush'.

For older kids, you might enjoy our 'A-Z of cystic fibrosis'.

If you are in secondary school, why not have a look at 'The rest is up to me'.

Or take a look at 'I can't go to school today: Jasper's Story' This video tells the story of a young boy living with 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. Find out more about Jasper’s video and hear from Jasper himself about what it was like working on the project.


Feel like you've got too much on your plate? Head over to The Mix, a website that provides support for under 25s. Find expert advice, peer support, useful apps and tools, and help with gaining new skills and getting involved in volunteering.


Our forum community is the perfect place for people affected by cystic fibrosis to come together and share ideas and support.

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.

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