A COPD exacerbation is defined as a period of time when your usual COPD symptoms worsen. For some people, a COPD exacerbation can become so serious that hospitalization is necessary.Â The most common cause of COPD exacerbations are viral and bacterial infections and air pollution.
Having a flare-up of your COPD symptoms can be downright scary. Thatâ€™s why, in 5 Ways to Prevent COPD Exacerbation we shared some important tips on how to nip exacerbations in the bud before they occur. Â How do you know if youâ€™re having an exacerbation? Thankfully, there are 10 warning signs and symptoms that should alert you to seek emergency care or contact your physician as soon as possible.
Early Recognition of Worsening Symptoms
According to the Cleveland Clinic, getting help for an exacerbation as soon as you notice symptoms is paramount to a speedy recovery. Waiting too long could lead to serious complications; possibly even death. Even if you donâ€™t feel sick or you donâ€™t think your symptoms are that bad, ignoring them could be life-threatening.
When to Seek Emergency Care
Sometimes, a COPD exacerbation requires immediate emergency treatment. Go to the closest emergency room or call 911 if you experience:
When to Seek Non-Emergent Care
Many times, a COPD exacerbation can be effectively managed at home, under the care of your physician. Report any of the following warning signs to your physician within 24 hours:
For more information about COPD and prevention of COPD exacerbation, read:
Author: Deborah Leader RN, BSN, PHN