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COPD Exacerbation

A huge part of having COPD is the horrible exacerbations we have. If you are newly diagnosed you may wonder, what exactly is an exacerbation?

Well, we cough... More than we should. COPD exhibits differently in each of us. An exacerbation, is when we cough excessively and produce phlegm. Coughing up phlegm is actually a good thing for us to do, as some of us over produce it. This can be an embarrassing event. While working as a retail manager, and speaking with customers, this happened often. VERY OFTEN. Coughing up more than a Kleenex could hold, a handful of phlegm. Gross.

Now, I said that is is healthy for us to do this, but you must look at it. Yes, look at the phlegm you coughed up. Keep track of the color. The color is telling you what is going on in your body. Is it clear? Then you are fine. White, okay no problem. Gray? That is okay too. Also, keep in mind that if you just drank something with color, like a glass of red wine or soda... It may be scary to see blood red phlegm. But, remember that you just drank that red wine!

Coughing is also the first indicator of infection. For myself, coughing doesn't mean I have an infection. I also have allergies, and I react to new environments. Is this place dusty? Are there animals here? Perfume or cologne? Air freshener? Is someone burning leaves or Barbecuing? Is there something new in here? Anything that changes our usual environment can be a trigger. Be it an allergic reaction, or just that subtle odor. They can trigger an exacerbation.

You want medical attention BEFORE this chart states you need help.
Now, if the phlegm is yellow, or dares to be green you must seek medical help immediately as it is a sign of infection. And, with COPD, each infection brings you closer to the next stage of COPD. So, please go get an antibiotic! If you are getting infections frequently, every month or two, or more often. Ask your Doctor for a long term antibiotic. This means you will take and antibiotic at least 3 times a week for the rest of your life. But, will extend your health, giving you more good days than bad.

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