Knowing the signs of a COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) exacerbation can be crucial in managing COPD. Whether you have COPD or you’re caring for someone with COPD, recognizing the signs of an exacerbation will allow you to seek the necessary treatment to keep the symptoms from worsening or causing more damage to the lungs.

COPD exacerbations can be caused by a number of things such as lung irritants, viral or bacterial infections, extreme temperatures and allergies.

Signs of a COPD exacerbation include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially if not performing any physical activity
  • Trouble speaking
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Increase or changes in color of mucus production
  • Blue-tinged fingers or lips
  • Inability to get the usual relief from medicine
  • Noisy breathing, including wheezing or rattling
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping or eating
  • Increase in coughing

If you notice any of these symptoms, follow your doctor’s care plan. If your symptoms are severe, get worse or you don’t have a care plan in place, seek immediate medical attention.