How to Manage COPD Flare-ups at Home

Experiencing a COPD exacerbation can be alarming, causing feelings of confusion, panic, or fatigue. NuvoAir Medical delivers top-notch COPD care right in your home.

Eric Harker, MD, MPH, MBAPublished on 2023-12-19

Experiencing a COPD exacerbation can be alarming, causing feelings of confusion, panic, or fatigue. NuvoAir Medical delivers top-notch COPD care right in your home. Our pulmonologists offer same-day telehealth visits, ensuring you get the necessary COPD treatment swiftly.

Understanding COPD Exacerbations

COPD, encompassing emphysema and chronic bronchitis, impairs lung function. Flare-ups, known as COPD exacerbations, represent a worsening of COPD symptoms. It's common for COPD patients to have at least one exacerbation annually. Signs of a COPD flare-up include:

  • Increased coughing
  • Discharge of colored mucus
  • Elevated fatigue
  • Fever
  • Reduced oxygen levels
  • Difficulty breathing during everyday activities

Factors Leading to COPD Flare-Ups

Illnesses like colds, flu, or COVID-19 often trigger these exacerbations. Other contributors include air pollution, allergens, chemical fumes, and cigarette smoke.

Stress and anxiety can aggravate COPD symptoms, potentially causing exacerbations. Techniques like deep breathing can help manage stress. To help manage feelings of stress or anxiety, consider practicing deep breathing exercises:

  • Find a peaceful spot and shut your eyes.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose, counting to two.
  • Form your lips as if you're about to whisper "ooo."
  • Exhale slowly through your lips, aiming for up to six seconds.
  • Continue this cycle of inhaling and exhaling until you achieve a sense of relaxation.
  • Should you find that deep breathing doesn't alleviate your discomfort, or if your COPD symptoms intensify, remember that our team is ready to assist you.

However, if symptoms persist or worsen, seeking medical help is crucial.

Addressing and Preventing COPD Exacerbations

Prompt intervention is key to managing COPD exacerbations. Treatment may involve:

  • Use of antibiotics in case of infection indicators like a fever.
  • Utilization of an inhaler or nebulizer containing bronchodilators to widen your air passages.
  • Administration of oxygen treatment using either a facemask or a tiny tube inserted into the nostrils.
  • Application of steroids to reduce lung inflammation and swelling.

While not all exacerbations can be prevented, minimizing exposure to smoke, pollutants, and illnesses can reduce the risk. Regular handwashing is also advisable.

Untreated severe COPD exacerbations can be fatal, but timely medical intervention can lead to recovery. If you notice exacerbation signs, seek immediate medical attention.

NuvoAir Medical's Virtual COPD Care

NuvoAir Medical offers cost-effective, same-day medical services for COPD. Our experienced pulmonologists, respiratory therapists and nurses specializes in treating COPD with a range of methods, including inhalers and nebulizers, ensuring rapid relief. Moreover, we can send you easy-to-use medical devices so we can help detect when the next flare-up might be coming and stay ahead of the infections.

We also maintain communication with your primary physician and handle insurance claims, accepting most major plans, including Medicare.

For symptoms of a COPD exacerbation, contact NuvoAir Medical at 833-688-6247 for a same-day appointment. In emergencies, call 911 or head to the nearest emergency department.