Over the last year, masks have become an essential part of any outing for people worldwide. However, it’s important to recognize that for people with respiratory or autoimmune diseases, masks have long been a permanent part of their lives. This is particularly true for people with Cystic Fibrosis (CF).
What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is a respiratory disease that progressively limits people’s ability to breathe and can cause major and permanent damage to the lungs, digestive system, and other organs. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, there are over 70,000 identified cases of Cystic Fibrosis worldwide and around 1,700 variants of the disease. Each year approximately 1,000 people are diagnosed with CF.
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that is most common among white people of European descent. It is particularly prevalent in the United States, where there are over 30,000 cases of CF.
CF symptoms can vary drastically from patient to patient. In most patients, Cystic fibrosis causes the lungs and pancreas to excrete excess sticky mucus and fluids. These fluids can clog airways and make it difficult to breathe, reducing patients’ overall lung capacity. The fluids can also block passages and tubes within the pancreas and other organs, causing inflammation which leads to stomach and spine pain. In newborns and infants, it can lead to severe digestive issues and an inability to gain weight.
According to the Mayo Clinic, one of America’s largest non-profit medical centers, some other CF symptoms include persistent, antibiotic-resistant coughs and respiratory difficulties; lung and chest infections; and difficulty performing physical or outdoor activities. These symptoms can be debilitating for CF patients and can make everyday activities difficult or impossible.
This genetic disease is usually diagnosed in infants and children aged two years and under, though, for some, the disease doesn’t present until adolescence or adulthood. In order to obtain CF, both parents must be a carrier of mutated CF genes, which affect how cell surfaces absorb water. These mutations are what cause fluid buildup within the organs.
Why Do Cystic Fibrosis Patients Wear Masks?
This condition also makes CF patients extremely susceptible to illnesses and viruses and can turn common ailments, such as a cold or flu, deadly.
Because of the increased risks associated with cystic fibrosis, patients are often advised to wear masks in public to reduce their exposure to bacteria and viruses that their bodies might not be able to fight off. This essential safety practice can be lifesaving for CF patients.
For years, Cystic fibrosis patients were unable to participate in the same daily activities as those without CF. However, largely because of improvements in masks for cystic fibrosis patients, many people are able to attend school, work, and live fulfilling lives.
Though as we’ve seen with the rise of Covid-19, this peace can be precarious. CF patients are in the higher-risk category for Covid-19, meaning they are more susceptible to severe or deadly coronavirus infections. Because of this, it is now more important than ever to protect yourself and your community members with Cystic Fibrosis by wearing a multi-layered, effective mask.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation notes that when searching for a mask to slow the spread of Covid-19, “The CDC recommends checking to see how well a mask fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has. ... A mask with more than one layer will help prevent your droplets from reaching others and those from others from reaching you.”
The most important factors Cystic Fibrosis patients need to consider when choosing a mask is how many layers and filters the mask provides and how securely it fits. Masks should be tightly secured to the face with no gaps or bulges in order to prevent droplets containing bacteria, fungi, or viruses from entering the lungs. They should also contain adequate filter systems that prevent micro-particles from making it past the barrier. A Cambridge Mask is a favorite choice of many CF patients due to our well-sealed, tight fitting design and our high-grade technology filtration.
It’s important to note that not all masks equally mitigate health risks for CF patients such as uncertified masks or homemade face coverings.
The 2014 Cystic Fibrosis Infection Prevention and Control guidelines advise Cystic Fibrosis patients use an N95 respirator mask in order to minimize risk. This is because N95 masks are able to fit securely around the mouth and have been proven to filter out more particles than alternative mask options.
According to a 2018 study released by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, N95 face masks and were more effective in blocking pathogens and bacteria compared to traditional surgical masks, single-layer cloth masks, and no masks.
Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month
May is cystic fibrosis awareness month, meaning it’s time to raise awareness for this disease that might be affecting your friends, family, and neighbors. In order to support this cause and increase Cystic Fibrosis awareness, it’s important to recognize the crucial impact a mask can play in a CF patient’s life.
The best way to honor those with CF is to protect them. You can do this by wearing a mask that properly stops the spread of germs, bacteria, and viruses.
That is why Cambridge Mask Company has invested time and research into creating the most effective masks possible.
Through our unique three-layer filter system, Cambridge masks can filter more than 99 percent of what you breathe. This includes 99.6 percent of viruses and 99.7 percent of bacteria.
Cambridge masks use a patented three-layer filtration system that relies on a primary filtration layer, a three-ply micro particulate layer, and a military-grade carbon filter. This system provides unparalleled protection and is proven to have a particle filtration efficiency of over 98 percent.
Cambridge masks have also been certified as safe for children 14 years old and under by Bay Area Testing Labs.
Last year, we partnered with Jennifer Ronnenberg, a Cystic Fibrosis patient and advocate, to create the limited edition 65Roses mask. The purple rose has become a symbol for Cystic Fibrosis awareness, and the phrase “65 roses” is often used to teach children affected by CF how to pronounce their disease. It has become representative of strength, support, and love within the CF community.
To celebrate Jennifer and those affected with CF, we have confirmed a donation of 1,000 PRO masks worth $30,000 to Jennifer’s charity of choice to raise cystic fibrosis awareness and support patients.
Disclaimer: Cambridge Mask is not a medical website. For any medical questions or advice, please consult a doctor or professional medical advisor.