Exacerbation? : Can people post how... - Lung Conditions C...

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Jake25 profile image
24 Replies

Can people post how their copd exacerbations start please. I would say the past three weeks I've been feeling more breathless than usual, and the past week noticed breathlessness, just walking very short distances and not even uphill. I have had a bit of phlegm and wheezyness but not much, so today decided to start my rescue pack only the steroids because I don't feel ill or have a cough or temperature and I've had a covid test (negative) you know how it is with trying to get Drs appointments.🙄 Anyway hoping I start to feel less breathless in a couple of days if it is an exacerbation. I do exercise by working and walking regularly, just hoping it's not deterioration. 🙁 Thanks to anyone who replies. 😊

24 Replies
sassy59 profile image

Hi Jake25, I hope you don’t have an exacerbation but when Pete does (COPD diagnosed 2010) his cough sounds tighter and he usually has thicker coloured phlegm. He feels generally unwell too. Pete is always breathless and sometimes wheezy but that’s not generally an infection. Might be a good idea to speak with your GP.

Take care xxxx

Jake25 profile image
Jake25 in reply to sassy59

Thanks for the reply

CDPO16 profile image

My flare ups tend to be similar. Increased breathlessness with little relief from ventolin, dry cough if any and very rarely any phlegm. I also lose appetite although that isn't good at the best of times. Over the years I have more often taken prednisolone than a combination of pred and antibiotics. I have emphysema. Hope this helps.

Jake25 profile image
Jake25 in reply to CDPO16

Aww thank you CDPYes the Dr says I have emphysema. I'm just thinking if I can start the pred now I might avoid a full blown exacerbation. Thank you so much for replying 😊

CDPO16 profile image
CDPO16 in reply to Jake25

You're welcome. Let me know how you go on but get in touch with your doctor if you don't feel some benefit after 3 days. Get a replacement prescription too. Carole xx

Damon1864 profile image

Hi Jake25, like Sassy has already said it may not be an infection but please do have a word with your GP. It could be that you may have overdone things without realizing. Please let us know how you get on have a good night and take care 😊 Bernadette and Jack 🐕 xxxxxx

MELNEL profile image

Hiya 😊 I get extremely breathless and lungs gets tight and I get wheezy and burning in my lungs, than I start antibiotics and steroids and let my GP know about it, because normal she always ask me to come around that she can see me because she wants to listen to my lungs. I normally feel a relief quick after the I taken the steorids and I know I will get better soon again.

So you take care of yourself 🤗 best wishes 🌺🌺🌺

siouxbecket profile image
siouxbecket in reply to MELNEL

Gosh I can't remember the last time a GP listened to my lungs despite having many exacerbations. I am lucky if I get a Face to Face appointment. Good luck Jake25.

Sharp5Flat13 profile image

Yes, Jake. I exacerbate walking on the slightest of inclines. Then I hyperventilate with tachycardia and need to stop. I hold on to a chair and lean forward until a return to normal. The oxygen speeds the recovery time but doesn’t do much to prevent the episode.

Lynnetp profile image

Hi Jane,I have similar episodes. I can feel more breathless over a week or so, then it seems as though my lungs feel smaller….more difficult to breathe fully in or out.

I’ll tend to start prednisolone first but always contact my COPD team. They take a sputum sample to check and in recent months they’ve found pseudomonas so I’ve had courses of ciprofloxacin.

So, yes, I think I know what you mean. I’m sure it’s something and nothing, but always best to check with your GP or specialist team.

Wishing you all the best

Lynne xx

Jake25 profile image
Jake25 in reply to Lynnetp

Aww thanks Lynne lovely to hear from you 😊

MoyB profile image

The comment from Lynnetp is almost word for word what I was about to write. Watch out for the pseudomonas.

Pesky little beggars got into my lungs. Like Lynne, I was increasingly breathless, but was coughing very little phlegm and and what came up was white, so it was presumed I had no infection.

One day, o2 dropped dramatically and coincided with a big, discoloured blob of phlegm being dislodge which I was able to catch in a sputum pot and submit for testing. It came back positive for colonising pseudomonas.

GP offered no treatment so I contacted the RESP team and further samples were taken. They were small and pure white again but the pseudomonas showed up again.

My resp consultant put me on the ciprofloxacin and I haven't looked back! I have felt so much better and can walk again without having to keep stopping to get my breath. My energy levels are up and I feel better all round.

If you're able to catch a good phlegm sample, do get it tested just in case.

Hope you feel better soon. Xx Moy

Jake25 profile image
Jake25 in reply to MoyB

Aww thank you Moy.Unfortunately my GPS are not that good I know for a fact they would of just rang me back and told me to start the prednisone. I don't have a consultant. If I don't feel any better by Monday I will request to see the Copd nurse. 😊

MoyB profile image
MoyB in reply to Jake25

That sounds like a good plan. They seem to be pretty clued up as a rule and have more time available than the GPs.Xx Moy

garshe profile image

I never take my emergency pack until I have spoken to my Respiratory team. They come out to check if I have a chest infection , if that's the case then I take it. If you take the AB and steroids too often they wont work after time. I try to avoid taking them as more often or not it could be a virus , and most viruses clear up on their own as AB not needed. You should consult your Doctor or Respiratory Team. xxSheila

Jake25 profile image
Jake25 in reply to garshe

Thanks for the advice Sheila . You are very lucky to have them come out to you. The advice they gave me on last check up was to start the steroids if I'm feeling overly breathless than usual, and only start Ab if I have temp and feel unwell. I've had virus before and this is different. I will see the resp nurse if I'm not feeling better by Monday. 😊

garshe profile image
garshe in reply to Jake25

Well listen to your Respiratory team they are qualified xxSheila 👍👍hope you feel better soon. Xx

JJ_7 profile image

Hi Jake25. My symptoms during exacerbation are general malaise, breathlessness, dark sputum, inability to walk uphill. I sometimes have left it too long when I start my rescue pack and have been hospitalised for pneumonia on 3 occassions in the last 3 years. My GP and Resp team advise that I start taking the rescue pack immediately I feel this way regardless if my temperature or blood pressure is normal.

I am not sure if you are a patient of your local respiratory team. If not, I would request a referral to them by your GP. Hope you are feeling better soon.

flicky1 profile image

Hello Jake, I too have emphysema diagnosed 5 years ago as being mild to moderate. When my symptoms got worse just around Xmas time, the first year I took both the steriods and the antibiotics but they didn't seem to do much. The second year at around the same time, I went to a walk-in surgery and the pulmonary nurse said just take the steroids, so I did that but they didn't seem to make much difference once again. Not being a fan of steroids and recognising that the annual regularity was probably caused by weather or environmental conditions, I decided after that to see whether things would get worse if I didn't take the steroids. I haven't taken them since although the patterns continues but doesn't develop into a full exacerbation.

I find my lungs are affected very easily by air pollution, both inside and outside. I have got used to having very uncomfortable lungs at times and sometimes get "heavy legs". I have trained myself to keep on going rather than resting which does nothing for my fitness. I swim a lot, even though I get breathless (which takes a while to settle down after swimming), and have now regularly reached 50+ lengths. I have a fitbit which checks my heartrate, which is fine.

Like you, I also walk quite a bit and I believe that keeping fit is the best way to slow down the progression of this horrible disease and thus lead a relatively normal life. The varying breathlessness is something I have learned to accept and I just get it on with now.

Collie4 profile image

I get tight chest with an exacerbation which doesn’t ease much with ventolin so take my rescue pack of prednisolone for 5 days and that helps a lot.Perhaps you could phone your gp and ask advice. I know these days it’s very difficult to get to speak to gp. You will need a new rescue pack anyway if you are taking one now.

I hope you feel more comfortable soon.

Debs_ALUK profile image

Hi Jake25

As the other members have advised it is important to speak to your GP if there are any worsening or new symptoms you are experiencing You can also call us at our helpline if you wish and speak to one of our clinical nurse team for advice- 03000 030 555 (Mon - Fri 9-5pm) Call us if you need us.

Take care


Jake25 profile image
Jake25 in reply to Debs_ALUK

I would like to thank you all for your replies. 2nd day of taking steroids and I am feeling so much better and less breathless. I forgot to mention that last week I woke up with a runny nose didn't think anything of it and took antihistamines, this has led to a sinus infection which has caused inflammation on my lungs. I'm so glad I started the steroids as I have avoided an exasibation. 😊 I will inform my GP and get another prescription.

CDPO16 profile image
CDPO16 in reply to Jake25

Good to know you are feeling better.

Patk1 profile image

Infections+exacerbations do take their toll,and a bit to recover from.personally, I use " controlled breathing" both when breathless,coughing and struggling.i Also use it when active/ walking as it helps + stabilises breathing.rest up on days off.give yrself time to recover x

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