What is a COPD flare-up?
COPD flare-ups (also called COPD exacerbations) are times when your symptoms get noticeably worse or when new symptoms appear.
Flare-ups may be brought on by a chest infection from a cold or the flu, or they may be triggered by air pollution or allergies.
It's important to tell your doctor about any flare-up, chest infection, or attack of breathlessness you experience.
What are the warning signs of a COPD flare-up (COPD exacerbation)?
You need to know the signs of a COPD flare-up and treat them seriously. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of COPD flare-ups will empower you to respond to them.
Warning signs of a COPD flare-up include:
- a change in the colour or thickness of your mucus
- more coughing
- fatigue and feeling sick
- fever or symptoms of a cold (such as runny nose, sore throat, or headache)
- more mucus
- more shortness of breath
5 warning signs of a severe COPD flare-up
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have any one of these symptoms:
- blue lips or fingers
- chest pain
- confused thinking or agitation
- drowsiness during waking hours
- extreme shortness of breath
What should I do if I have a COPD flare-up?
Because flare-ups are a serious medical condition, make sure to tell your doctor about any change in your condition.
- Call your doctor if your symptoms are getting worse. Go to a hospital emergency department if you can't reach your doctor.
- If you have any of the 5 warning signs of a severe flare-up, call 9-1-1 immediately.