Preventing and managing a flare up

People with COPD are at risk of having an exacerbation or flare up.

A flare up is what happens when your COPD gets worse.  Flare ups can become serious and you may even need to go to hospital.  It is important for you to understand how to avoid having a flare up, what the signs and symptoms of a flare up are, and how you can minimise its impact.

Some of the typical signs and symptoms of a flare up are one or more of the following:

  • More wheezy or breathless than usual.
  • More coughing.
  • More sputum than usual.
  • A change of colour or taste in your sputum.
  • Loss of appetite or sleep.
  • Less energy for your usual activities.
  • Taking more of your reliever medicine than normal.

It is important to recognise your normal (baseline) symptoms so you can identify these signs and symptoms of a flare up.