British Lung Foundation
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Hello everyone

Hi all

Im Simon and I am not a COPD sufferer but my father in law is. I am new here and am looking for advice as to what happens with COPD and how the person feels, Ie how the chest and lungs feel.

My father in law is 83yo and the answer to ''How are you feeling?'' is ''I'm ok how are you?'' though a chesty wheeze and coughing

He is on a multitude of drugs for heart, blood, prostate etc

He continually sounds as though he has a frog in his throat and nasally.

He uses 4 inhalers which pose their own issues with when to change them how full/empty they are.

He also has his own 'emergency' steroids and antibiotics but is not sure when to take them and if he needs to take them. Neither are we as he say he is ok.

Anyone have any suggestions on anything above?

Kind regards in advance


12 Replies

You will get plenty of good advice on here. I would also recommend British websites of which there are quite a few. Also click on the red balloon above for the telno of the BLF nurse. All the best from Annieseedx


Hi Simon. A froggy throat may be down to his inhalers - good to gargle and spit out when they have been used, especially as some can rot the teeth. The emergency pack is for when he has a chest infection. Speak to the GP about how to tell when they should be started. Some know when their temperature rises, others by their sputum colour/production. What else can I say? We are all so very different. He should keep warm as the winter approaches and be protected from people with chesty colds and coughs, and any cigarette smoke of course. He should have been offered a flu jab (and a pneumonia one if he has not had one previously). If you have any specific question just ask. Any thing technical and you can call the BLF helpline - details given when you click on the balloon. x


Hi Simon welcome, that is a lot of question, I am just logging off for a bit, but for now you might want to read from links below, the information may cover some of your question:

Identifying an infection and when to take emergency steroids and anti biotics:

BLF page describing COPD with links to living with a lung condition:

BLF provide an information pack but the helpline number is only manned weekdays 10am to 5pm 03000 030 555.

Best wishes BC


Hello simon , you will get lots of advise on here! I care for my husband who has severe Copd.

Firstly I would ring the blf helpline on Monday (click on the red balloon) they can send you some useful information.

I would definitely talk to his doctors if you are able - I have consent to talk about my husbands condition which is very useful when he has been ill. Perhaps you could ask if he is well enough to be referred to pulmonary rehab (a course of monitored exercise and information). I assume he will get a flu jab and a pneumonia jab.

We were told that if two of the following symptoms increased my husband was to start his emergency meds: more coughing, change if colour in sputum and or more breathless.

The symptoms of Copd vary for each sufferer some are very breathless some do a lot of coughing some produce mucous. As previously said the croaky voice could be the inhalers.

It must be hard for your father in law - most people find the diagnosis difficult but he has other illnesses too. I hope you are able to find the info you need.

With love and best wishes TAD x x


Welcome again ,I hope you receive the advice you require.


Your daily humour tonic


Hi Simon how difficult for you .As the others have said although similar we are all so different many variables.Please seek pro help and advice from someone who knows him.Having said that please come back if you then have further questions or just to share theres alot of good experience amongst these good folk here so a warm welcome to you hopefully see you back soon.Janexx


Hi Simon, welcome. As the others say, give the helpline a call for advice, they may ask you questions specifically about your father in law. Have the names and doses of his medications handy. I believe it is the cost of a local call and they will call you back.

The rescue meds are for when you're away from home, the GP is closed ie Friday nights and weekends! (As I understand it anyway).

The BLF will also help you with the right questions to ask of his GP if you do manage to get to see him/her. There are different levels of copd, mild, moderate, severe and ........... I'm no expert tho. Most sufferers learn over time their own symptoms to manage their conditions - of which there are quite a few.

It would be great if he could get on the pulmonary rehab course, one of you can go with him as is normal. Also there may be a Breath Easy support group in your area, these are for sufferers and or their carers/families .

All the best to you all, do come here when ever you need to - that's what we're here for :) ! Anyway, I for one thank you for coming here to ask how you can understand in order to help, many of us would give our eye teeth for a caring relative. Bless you. peeg

Oh and PS as to how it feels, they say try walking upstairs with a peg on your nose and at the same time a straw in your mouth to breath through


Hi Simon& welcome.Lots of good advice here,from the friendly peeps,do hope it helps,

Cheers Wendells xx


HI all thanks for your replies.......

The main problem, one of many, is my 83 yo father in law doesnt understand what is going on with copd and how it is affected by his weak heart, his blood/oxygen level and other symptoms (swollen ankles). He is on a lot of drugs for already and the inhalers are a further complication.

Because of this it is difficult to get any information out of him when, to me , he sound chesty but says he feels fine.

What do you, as suffers, feel you need to be asked or where/how do you know you have a flare up?

Kindest regards to you all



Hi Simon as Toci says below, we are not all going to experience the same symptoms that indicate a flare up, however you mention your FIL sounds chesty, if he coughs up mucus regularly, a discoloration in mucus yellow or green indicates an infection. If his breathing becomes more difficult, he slows up in his walking or movements, sleeping more, these can also indicate a flare up.

On the 1st link I posted above there is another link to a pdf document which gives some good indications on how to identify a flare up and when to use the ABs and steroids if you can't get a doctor or community matron to call or you can't get him to a doctor or walk in clinic to get his lungs checked.

If your FIL has an opportunity to attend a pulmonary rehabilitation course this would be great if you attended with him so that you can become aware of what is very helpful patient information in managing symptoms and avoiding lung infections.

1) no Smoking passive or otherwise

2) Avoid people who may be infected with a cold or the flu virus **

3) attend a PR course a patient educational programme

4) Have a good diet, drink plenty of fluids / water.

5) Have some form of exercise or physical activity each day

** Carers and preferably anyone who is in close contact with your FIL should get the annual flu vaccine as well as your FIL.


Simon, to answer your last question first, we are all so different. Some know a flare up by changes in the amount of sputum, some by the colour of the sputum, some by increased coughing and some by raised temperature, and I have probably missed some! Your best bet here is to initially speak to the British Lung Foundation helpline - if you click on the balloon, top right, you will get details of how to contact them (weekdays, office hours). They can offer a lot of advice and also tell you how to go about getting permission to talk to your father-in-law's GP for him. Then you can be an intermediary when necessary. It is also a good idea to access the BLF leaflets, which give a lot of information also. Good luck.


Thank you,

I will call BLF on Monday when I finish work. My wife works at home so there is always someone at home in the day. It is frustrating as he is at the age where he talks about 1945 as though it was yesterday but cannot remember what the GP said to him about his medicine/copd 2 days ago!

Once again for the help!!


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