7 Ways to Deal with a COPD Flare-Up

by Erica Sanderson Editor

Be proactive

Don’t ignore your symptoms. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the worse your flare-up can become. Jump on a flare-up immediately so you can recover as quickly as possible without doing further damage to your lungs.

Track your symptoms

Take note of what has changed with your body recently—increased wheezing, fatigue, shortness of breath, and so forth. The more information you provide to your doctor, the easier it will be for them to decide on the proper treatment.

Contact your specialist

Call your pulmonary doctor to set up an appointment and get in as soon as possible. You will most likely undergo pulmonary function tests. Based on your lung function numbers and symptoms, your doctor will create a treatment plan to fight this particular flare-up.

Prepare for a potential hospital stay

Depending on how severe your flare-up is, you may need to go to the hospital for immediate treatment. Have your medication list, prescriptions and overnight bag handy so you are prepared.

Make proper arrangements

Alert your caregiver that you’re experiencing a flare-up and may need more help than normal. If you’re working, tell your boss what is going on. Let friends and family members know in case you need anything. Cancel any appointments or meetings you have scheduled within the next couple weeks.

Stock up on prescriptions and supplies

You may need extra inhalers or nebulizer treatments while you battle a flare-up. Make sure you have enough to cover you and tell your doctor if you need additional scripts.

Don’t panic

It can be difficult to not get anxious when you realize you’re experiencing a flare-up. But panicking can affect your heart and lungs, making it even harder to breathe. Stress can exacerbate symptoms so you need to try and remain calm.

Erica Sanderson
Meet Our Writer
Erica Sanderson

Erica Sanderson is a former content producer and editor for HealthCentral. Living with a chronic disorder that affects the lungs and instestine, Erica focused on covering digestive health and respiratory health. Topics included COPD, asthma, acid reflux, managing symptoms and medication.