COPD flare-ups


Plan: Come prepared this winter

Preventing a COPD flare-up is important because an untreated flare-up can mean hospitalisation, and each flare-up does further damage to the lungs. Knowing the early signs of a flare-up and having an action plan in place will mean faster treatment resulting in a quicker and better recovery.

Come prepared this winter. Prevent a COPD flare-up and download our action plan.

Download the COPD Action Plan long-arrow-right

Know the signs of a flare-up

Each COPD flare-up does long-term damage to your health and can increase your risk of death. It’s vital to be prepared this winter. Reduce your risk and recognise the symptoms of a flare-up: 

  • Coughing more than usual. 
  • Finding it harder to breathe than usual. 
  • Any change in sputum (phlegm). 
  • Feeling more tired and less active than usual. 

Your COPD Action Plan will tell you what you need to do during a flare-up. This may include taking extra flare-up medications or visiting your doctor for review of your symptoms.  


Come prepared with an action plan

A delay of 24 hours or more in seeking treatment for an exacerbation doubles the chance of hospital admission. 

Our COPD Action Plan will help you understand your baseline or day-to-day symptoms and current medicines, how to recognise when your symptoms change or worsen and what action to take.  

Download the COPD Action Plan.  

Prevention is your best protection 

Winter can be a dangerous time for someone living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), particularly if you contract the flu or pneumonia. Catching these viruses can have significant consequences and puts you at risk of a flare-up of your symptoms. 

Protect yourself against these viruses by getting vaccinated. These vaccines won’t combat COVID-19 but they will help to reduce the severity and spread of influenza and pneumonia which alone can have a detrimental impact on your health. 

Read more about protecting yourself against the flu and pneumonia.  

Talking to your doctor 

To help you to effectively manage your overall health and to minimise your risk of exposure, you can now access most health services via telephone and video calling software such as Zoom, Skype and FaceTime. These services are bulk billed and available for people who are considered vulnerable to risk of serious infection, including people living with a chronic lung condition.  

If you prefer to visit your doctor in person, rest assured that most GP practices are putting special measures in place to protect vulnerable community members from exposure to COVID-19. Make sure you call ahead to ask what measures are in place at your clinic.    

Tips to make the most of your doctor’s appointment: 

  • Make appointments with the same doctor, except in an urgent situation and when your normal doctor is unavailable. 
  • List questions and concerns about your COPD in order of priority before your visit. 
  • Ask for a longer appointment or schedule a second visit if you have lots of questions or concerns. 
  • Don’t avoid asking questions because you are embarrassed. Your doctor is there to help. 
  • Take a friend or family member for support. 
  • Ask your doctor to write answers down so you can review them later. 
  • Find out from your doctor when you should make your next appointment and talk through your action plan to make sure you know what to do if your symptoms worsen or if you’re not getting better. 


Keeping active at home

While you might not be able to go to the gym or your local pool, or attend pulmonary rehabilitation or Lungs in Action classes at the moment, it’s still really important to keep your body moving and maintain your exercise habits. Research has shown that exercising is highly beneficial for people living with a lung condition. Participating in regular exercise can help to reduce symptoms such as shortness of breath and help to keep you well and out of hospital.
Our Pulmonary Exercise Manager and Exercise Physiologist, Emma is hosting an at-home exercise series to help you maintain movement. The series will take you step-by-step through simple exercises that can be completed at home with objects found around the house.

Before commencing any exercise please consult your practicing healthcare team and read our Exercise Safety Guidelines here.

View the series long-arrow-right
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