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What Is a COPD Exacerbation?

May 18, 2018
Discuss These Signs with Your Doctor

A COPD exacerbation is a flare-up or episode when your breathing worsens and you become sick. Having exacerbations often can cause your COPD to progress faster, so it’s important to help prevent them as much as possible.

The best way to prevent exacerbations is to recognize the warning signs and take action. Discuss the following list with your doctor and ask, “When do you want me to call you?”

  • Wheezing, or more wheezing than is normal for you
  • Coughing more than usual
  • Shortness of breath that is worse than usual
  • An increase in your mucus production
  • Change in the color of your mucus to yellow, green, tan, or bloody
  • Shallow or rapid breathing, more than what’s normal for you
  • Fever
  • Confusion or excessive sleepiness
  • Swelling in your feet or ankles

Exacerbations can be serious. Watch for early warning signs, and don’t ignore them.