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What are triggers?

Triggers are things that make your COPD worse – they ‘trigger’ symptoms.1 Knowing what makes your COPD worse can help you keep it under control. For example, if cold air makes you breathless, you could cover your mouth with a scarf before you go outside, to warm the air before you breathe it in.

Common triggers:1-3


Infections (cold or flu)
Changes in temperature
Smoke or fumes

If you have different triggers, make a note of them and think of possible ways to avoid them, or to reduce their effect.

Approval code: UK/RESP/17/0032p

Date of preparation: January 2020

References
  1. COPD: Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. British Lung Foundation. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0221/4446/files/BK2_Living_with_COPD_v3_2016_PDFdownload.pdf?10228718986500191116 Last accessed: January 2020.
  2. Global strategy for the diagnosis. management. and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 2020 report. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. https://goldcopd.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/GOLD-2020-FINAL-ver1.2-03Dec19_WMV.pdf Last accessed: January 2020.
  3. Exacerbation of COPD. American Thoracic Society. https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/topic-specific/copd.php Last accessed: January 2020.

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