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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: RESP-IE-NP-00097

Date of preparation: November 2020

  1. COPD: Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. British Lung Foundation. Last accessed: November 2020.
  2. Global strategy for the diagnosis. management. and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 2018 report. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. Last accessed: November 2020.
  3. Exacerbation of COPD. American Thoracic Society. Last accessed: November 2020.

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