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Self-care plan for COPD

It’s important to look after your health and wellbeing, with support from your team of health professionals.

This COPD self-care plan will help you manage your COPD better, especially if you have a flare-up of your symptoms.

Try to have a communication card and self-management plan.

Download a:

Your doctor (this could be your GP or hospital doctor), nurse or physiotherapist will go through this with you. It may help to discuss the plan with your family or carer.

You can reduce the chance of a flare-up by taking your medication regularly and treating it promptly.

COPD Self-management advice

If you're having a good day

You should be able to carry out your usual activities. Your phlegm should be a normal colour and amount.

Continue with your medications as prescribed and continue your day as normal. Keep as active as possible.

If you're having a bad day

On a bad day your COPD may be bothering you. For example, you may be more short of breath than usual.

You should:

If you're feeling unwell

If you're feeling unwell you may be more wheezy or short of breath. You may have more phlegm that is yellow or green in colour.

You should:

  • take your normal medications and inhalers
  • take your reliever medication every 4 to 6 hours
  • start your rescue antibiotics and steroids if your doctor has prescribed them
  • contact your GP or COPD outreach service for advice

If you're feeling very unwell

Feeling very unwell means your reliever and rescue prescription are not helping .

You should:

  • contact your GP or out-of-hours GP service straight away
  • go to the hospital emergency department if you cannot see your GP

Emergency action required: Call 112 or 999 and ask for an ambulance if:

  • you are short of breath at rest
  • have chest pain or confusion

This is an emergency.

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2021
Next review due: 15 December 2024

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.