A COPD flare, also called an exacerbation, is something that everyone with COPD will experience from time to time. The key to getting through a flare is to rest as much as possible and to make sure that any symptoms of an infection are managed quickly.
Your Senior Is Short of Breath More Often
Worsening breathing, especially if it’s happening more often than usual, can be a sign that your elderly family member is going through a COPD flare. It’s normal with COPD for her to experience some shortness of breath, but she may start experiencing even more of this. It can be unpleasant, especially if the anxiety that these episodes create gets out of hand for her.
Your Senior Can’t Sleep or Seems Confused
Confusion and having trouble sleeping can also be an indication that your senior’s COPD is temporarily worsening. The body and the brain need oxygen in order to function properly and when your elderly family member isn’t getting enough oxygen, she’s unable to function well. Even when she’s extremely tired, sleep may be difficult and fitful. As the flare eases, she may no longer experience these issues.
Your Senior Is Dealing with More Mucus
Mucus is the body’s response to irritants and to germs. If your elderly family member seems to be dealing with more congestion than usual, her lungs may be trying to compensate during a flare. There may be medications that she can safely take during this time that help her to deal with the excess mucus, especially those that help to thin mucus and expel it easier. If the mucus changes color, she may be developing a lung infection.
Your Senior Is Coughing More
Increased coughing is also common with a COPD flare. Your senior’s lungs are often irritated, whether that’s because of inflammation or because of mucus building up. Her body’s natural reaction is to try to remove the irritant, through coughing. That may not be possible, though, which is why she may experience continued coughing.
Your senior’s doctor can give her detailed information about how she should treat a COPD flare when one happens. It’s also a good idea to line up some extra help for her during and after a flare. She’s likely to be more tired than usual and having help from senior care providers can be a way for her to conserve her energy as much as possible.
If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Park City, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Billings today at 406-839-2390.