Exacerbation

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I had a scary episode a few weeks ago and I wonder if anyone can throw some light on it.

My husband and I used to do a lot of hill walking before COPD came along and we have changed to walking on the flat, albeit slowly. We were out a couple of weeks ago, passing through a forest. The road was made up of hard packed whinstone and although it was a sunny day it was very breezy and the dust was being blown all over the place...in fact the car was covered in grey dust. I didn't think anything of it but the next day I didn't feel too good and by 5pm I was struggling to get a breath. I used my inhalers but they didn't seem to help at all and by 10pm my husband had to call an ambulance as I just couldn't get a breath. I was given oxygen and then a nebuliser which made me able to start breathing better. The paramedics were terrific. I was taken to A&E and given antibiotics, steroids and sent home. My husband and I were very shaken up because any episodes I'd had before were usually just treated by my GP.

what I have wanted to know is what caused the flare up. I have asked about the dust but no one can give me an answer. Obviously I want to know so that I avoid situations like that in the future. All I get told by the medical side is...it can happen anytime.  At the time I thought my end had come because my heart was on overload so any similar experiences would be very helpful.

 

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Fern,

    So glad you got good treatment from the paramedics and looked after at A&E.

    Dust will certainly cause irritation of the airways, pollen also, anything that is airborne really and for some like yourself this can end up in hospitalization.

    The other thing (pardon the pun) its that time of year for fern spores, and some pine tree spores, even fungi spores, these can also cause a problem for some people.

    Car exhaust fumes, building site dust, house dust, pet dander etc etc.  

    For me but not all people my airway would narrow and breathing become more difficult just going into a building / room that has poor air quality, (like basement room shops without proper air circulations, some big department stores have poor air ciculation I find also, so that just means I cant shop in those spaces for very long. 

    BLF have a page on air pollution and your lungs, I have posted a link to BLfFpages in the 'Tips and know the difference' thread :-

    (see reply to Susan28809) https://patient.info/forums/discuss/tips-know-the-difference-478568?page=0#1765362

    What can you do:

    - Avoid areas where you can or wear protection.

    - I carry a buff (cycle nose mouth protection you can breathe through) for when you are walking in areas with high pollution, road traffic, dusty windy, very windy day, very cold air etc.  The vogmask with filter vent is also quite good.  Both come in fashion colours smile  *

    - Use inhaler before going into areas you know may irritate your lungs.

    * Some people just use a cotton or silk scarf.

    For inside air quality (suggestions / recommendations):-

    - Vaccume regular to avoid dust and pet dander build up.

    -  Change the inside air daily, open windows 20 minutes.  If you live close by a main road you may want to avoid open windows and just opt for air purifier options Allergy UK have information on these.

    - Pillow and mattress covers help prevents dust mite allergy and air way irritation also egyptian cotton sheets / duvet cover and pillow cases.

    - You may want to consider allergy bedding when you next renew.

    BLF pages may have more information check out their pages living with a lung condition.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your comments.

      Yesterday I had an appointment with a physio at our local hospital with the possibility of joining a Pulmonary Rehab clinic, so I am really trying to remain positive.

      I was only diagnosed 18 months ago but have been suffering the symptoms for quite a few years, but not really knowing what it was.

      I am on another dose of antibiotics 😞 as I came too close to a family member who has a cold. I had been feeling quite well too! 

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    • Posted

      Hope your are feeling better soon fern, yes its advisable to try and avoid contact with people infected with a cold or flu symptoms.

      Take good care V

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  • Posted

    I only found out that I had copd in January of this year and feel as though I have had this condition for a while.  I found out that I have got it through my husband smoking near me (passive smoking).  I get fed up of mucus at the back of my throat where I am struggling to breathe.
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    • Posted

      Hi gillian, so sorry you have COPD through passive smoking, hoping your husband has since stopped smoking or at least does not smoke in front of you now.

      Any smoke can irritate the lungs and airways.

      Your doctor should be able to prescribe some medicine for the mucus. (something like mucodyne)  The other thing to do is drink plenty of water, this keeps the mucus thin and makes it easier to cough up.

      Hope you find this becoming more manageable for you.

      Best wishes V

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    • Posted

      Hi Vee, thank you for your advice.  No he hasnt stopped smoking or in front of me.   I will ask the doctor when I next go to see him about the medication.  I suppose by looking at your comment above.  I work in the basement of a hospital which can't help the situation either.

      Thank you

      Kind regards

      Gillian

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