Five Feet Apart’s Cystic Fibrosis Condition Explained


All of us have read the book or watched the movie Five Feet Apart. Not going to lie – I have a special connection with the emotions of the characters. And you could probably have yours too. Nevertheless, today let’s talk about the building block from where the storyline derives. ‘Cystic Fibrosis’ or CF is the reason for breaking millions of fan’s hearts. 

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that is usually harmful to the respiratory and digestive systems. In other words, if parents carry one defective CF gene, it would be pass onto the offspring. That gene affects the secretory glands that produce mucus and sweat. We all have learnt that epithelial cells help to generate sweat glands in the skin. In addition, these cells channels inside the lungs, liver, pancreas, digestive and reproductive systems. In addition, these infect the organs that risk their lives. 

Cystic Fibrosis In Five Feet Apart 

In Five Feet Apart, Stella and Will develop cystic fibrosis in the lungs. Thick and sticky mucus gets accumulated in the lungs by infecting the organ from time to time. This condition makes it hard for anyone to breathe. Moreover, CF is a complex disease that can be different with the severity of symptoms. 

 B Cepacia And CF?

Now you might have across B Cepacia condition with CF in the movie. 

Burkholderia Cepacia (B Cepacia) is a complex condition that consists of various species of bacteria. Some of these species make it difficult for a person with cystic fibrosis. In the movie, the species are found in the lungs that are resistant to many antibiotics. Also, this condition can worsen the lungs. 

Breaking One-Foot Rule Risks CF Patient’s Life:

Individuals contracted with CF are conditioned to maintain 6 feet apart from other CF patients or anyone suffering from flu or cold because the germs can spread up to 6 feet. If not, it can attack the CF individual with dangerous bacteria and germs. The modern sciences term the above contraction as cross-infection. These germs are not only threatening but are challenging. They can lead to worsening symptoms that can lead to a decline in lung function. 

I read few interviews correspondingly I found some cautious alerts for breaking the one-foot rule. Deanna Green, M.D., director of Cystic Fibrosis at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, explained the circumstances in the real-life scenario. 

She said the breaking one feet rule is inaccurate. The patients identified with CF might have different bacteria destructing their lungs. And if they come in contact in the closed system, one patient’s bacteria will take control over the other patient’s lung along with their identified bacteria and vice versa. 

She also added that the hospitals are always on guard. The caretaker escorts the CF patient ensuring no other CF patient has lasted in the area within the last 30 mins.  

Fictional Aspects Of Showing The Disease Deadly 

The story involved fictional aspects too. For example, it depicted the 17-year-olds as ‘gravely sick’. The majority of the patients are not dying with the disease. Not necessarily they need a lung transplant since their regimes help their lungs function excellent. The life expectancy has increased from age 30 to 42. The research in medications is advancing to the survival age of 60 years. 

PS: If you know something interesting about the movie and CF. Comment below. 

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