Coping with flare-ups

Learning to recognise what symptoms are normal for you is a useful way to manage and monitor your health. Being able to spot a change in your lung health early means you can get treatment sooner to prevent a severe flare-up.

For some people, signs of a flare-up are a change in the colour of their sputum, an increase in the amount, or it becoming more sticky. For others, it can be feeling very tired, feeling feverish, a worsening cough or chest pain.

The signs to look out for are when, for more than 48 hours or two days, you:

  • feel unwell
  • cough up more sputum
  • have a change in the colour of your sputum
  • are more breathless

Agree a plan with your doctor about what to do. You may be given antibiotics to keep at home.

When you spot signs of a flare-up:

  • clear your chest more often – at least twice daily
  • take your regular medication as usual
  • drink plenty of fluids
  • collect a sputum sample and give it to you GP or hospital as soon as you can. If you can’t hand it in that day, store the sample in your fridge overnight
  • You may need to start your pack of antibiotics if you keep a pack at home. Get in touch with your GP or health care team for advice.

Next: Self-management >

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