COPD flare-ups, or exacerbations, are
when your symptoms—shortness of breath, cough, and mucus production—quickly get
worse and stay worse.
Work with your doctor to make a plan for
dealing with a COPD flare-up. If you are prepared, you
may be able to get it under control. Don't panic if you start to have one.
Quick treatment at home may help you prevent serious breathing problems.
A flare-up can be life-threatening, and you may need to go to your
doctor's office or to a hospital. Treatment for flare-ups includes:
Quick-relief medicines to help you breathe.
(such as ipratropium or tiotropium)
(such as methylprednisolone or prednisone)
Beta2-agonists (such as albuterol or
Machines to help you breathe. The use of
a machine to help with breathing is called
mechanical ventilation. Ventilation is used only if
medicine isn't helping you and your breathing is getting very difficult.
Noninvasive positive pressure
ventilation (NPPV) forces air into your lungs through a face mask.
With invasive ventilation, a breathing tube
is inserted into your windpipe, and a machine forces air into your lungs.
Oxygen to help you breathe. Oxygen treatment can be done in the hospital or at home.
medicines are used when a bacterial
lung infection is considered likely. People with
COPD have a higher risk of pneumonia and frequent lung
infections. These infections often lead to
COPD exacerbations, or flare-ups, so it's important to
try to avoid them.
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this