Infection control: important information

To stay as infection free as much as possible, people with PCD must treat any lung infections as quickly as possible with the appropriate antibiotics.

It is also important when attending hospital appointments or during hospital stays that you do not catch infections from other patients. When you are in hospital you may be segregated from the other patients with any form of chronic suppurative lung disease, that is any lung disease that produces mucus such as PCD and cystic fibrosis. This is achieved by having high levels of personal hygiene, separation of patients on wards and in clinic and avoiding sharing rooms for physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy

It is very important to maintain a good physiotherapy routine as you get older. This is the best way of preventing infections and maintaining optimal lung function. Speak to your physiotherapist if you are struggling with your routine: they are there to help support you and it is important to be honest with them about any challenges you have with your physio. They may suggest things like:

  • Adding exercise into your routine
  • Trying new physio equipment
  • Learning a new physio technique
  • Ways of improving what you are already doing
  • Psychological support to help you manage the demands of treatment

Find out more by visiting our physiotherapy page.

Equipment

You should ensure that you clean and sterilise all nebulizer equipment as per the manufacturer’s instructions. It is also important that you do not share any equipment with anyone. If you are in hospital do not forget to wash and sterilise equipment – if this is a problem, ask the nurses to help.

General tips:

  • Test your sputum regularly, so that you can treat an infection quickly. See our Monitoring PCD pages for more information.
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

There is one type of infection that PCD patients are best to avoid called Pseudomonas Aeruginosa (PsA). This is a common bacterium found in soil and water. It is relatively harmless to most but can cause infections in people with a chronic lung condition. If you do catch it then it requires nebulised antibiotic treatment which normally lasts for three months.

There are some simple tips to help avoid catching it in your day-to-day life:

  • Avoid tropical greenhouses which have misting systems, hot tubs, spa pools, jacuzzis, using squirty bath toys (they fill up with water and go mouldy), swimming in stagnant ponds and canals, fish tanks (if you must clean them out use gloves and a mask), opening compost bags (ask someone else to open the bag to release the air before using).
  • Practice extra hand cleaning after gardening, doing outdoor sport which involves picking up a ball, playing in a sand pit, after visiting petting zoos and farms.
  • Run the shower for a few minutes before you stand in it and do not swim in ill maintained swimming pools, always put fresh water in air humidifiers or vaporisers, flush toilets with the lids down, don’t forget to visit your dentist regularly (rotten teeth can promote PsA in the mouth).