Contact Guide: Addressing Alarming Symptoms

Communication is an important part of your child’s care. Between clinic visits you may need to contact the CF team. Here are some guidelines to help you know when to call and how to reach the right person to help you with your concerns.  

Your child’s pediatrician is an important part of your child’s healthcare for:

  • Well-child checkups and preventative guidance
  • Immunizations
  • Common childhood concerns
  • Injuries
  • Illnesses (i.e. skin rashes, ear aches, or fevers without respiratory symptoms)

Same-day Concerns

Contact your primary CF nurse or any member of the pulmonary nursing staff for changes in health that are urgent, but not an outright emergency. The main CF office number is 312.227.6730. These calls will be returned within 4 hours on the same day. If you feel your call needs immediate attention during daytime hours, you may call the hospital paging system at 312.227.4000 and ask for the pulmonary nurse on call. The same-day concerns may include the following:

  • Persistent cough lasting more than three days, or any cough that sounds "wet" or productive of mucus
  • Cough with a fever (fever = 100°F taken under the arm or 101°F taken rectally)
  • No bowel movement for over 24 hours, or difficulty passing stool
  • Diarrhea or oily appearance to stools
  • Vomiting more than three times in eight hours, or vomiting with refusal or inability to drink fluids
  • A rash while taking antibiotics

Non-Urgent Communication

Contact your primary nurse in the CF office for any non-urgent concerns. Your call will be returned as soon as possible within one to two days. Non-urgent concerns may include the following:
  • Test or culture results
  • Enzyme or food/diet questions (your call will be referred to your primary CF nutritionist)
  • Prescription refills
  • Insurance forms
  • Letters of medical necessity (including letters for travel)

Emergency Situations

Emergencies are extremely unusual in young infants, but can occur. Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room for any serious concerns. Emergency concerns include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing, struggling to breathe, or breathing very fast
  • Blue color or “tinge” to lips, nail beds, or skin
  • Signs of dehydration after prolonged heat exposure, diarrhea or vomiting

In an infant, dehydration signs are:

  • Decreased activity
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Dry lips
  • Sunken appearance to eyes
  • No tears with crying

If you are experiencing an emergent situation and are able to notify the CF center that you are seeking emergency care, please call the hospital at 312.227.4000 and ask to speak to the pulmonary doctor on call.

Main CF Office Number: 312.227.6730

Hospital Paging Operator: 312.227.4000