Lung Infections and COPD
Lung Infections and COPD
COPD causes your airways to get narrower. That makes it harder for your lungs to clear out mucus . And that mucus makes an inviting home for the germs that cause lung infections.
These infections also cause more shortness of breath and coughing when you have COPD than they would otherwise.
If you have COPD and symptoms of acute bronchitis or pneumonia, you should see your doctor.
Symptoms of acute bronchitis include:
- A change in the amount, colour, and consistency of the mucus you cough up. The mucus may be clear, yellow, or green. Small streaks of blood may be present.
- A mild fever, usually less than 38.5°C (101°F).
- A general feeling of tiredness (malaise).
- A sensation of tightness, burning, or dull pain in the chest under the breastbone that usually is worse when you breathe deeply or cough.
- Whistling noises (wheezing) when you breathe, especially during physical exertion.
Symptoms of pneumonia include:
- A cough, often producing discoloured mucus (sputum) from the lungs. Mucus coughed up from the lungs may be green or rust-coloured or tinged with blood.
- A fever, which may be less common in older adults.
- Shaking chills (just once or many times).
- Rapid, often shallow, breathing.
- Chest wall pain that is often made worse when you cough or inhale.
- A rapid heartbeat.
- Fatigue or vague feeling of weakness (malaise).
- Shortness of breath.
You may need to take antibiotics and other medicines to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014
Public Health Alerts
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
Want More Information?
HealthLink BC, your provincial health line, is as close as your phone or the web any time of the day or night, every day of the year.
Call 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C. or for deaf and hearing-impaired, call 7-1-1.
You can speak with a health service navigator, who can also connect you with a:
- registered nurse any time, every day of the year;
- registered dietitian from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday;
- pharmacist from 5pm to 9am, every day of the year.
Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.
FIND Services and Resources
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Is it an emergency?
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.