Signs of infection or exacerbation and what to do

5) Red

Select this image to see an enlarged version of the COPD asthma plan

Select this image to see an enlarged version of the COPD plan

If you have been in the Amber Zone for 24 – 48 hours and are not feeling any better – its time to alert your GP/Respiratory Nurse. You may need to start your Rescue Medication (antibiotics and steroids) which your GP/Nurse can provide.

If you have Rescue Medication at home use it when:

  • Your sputum has increased or changed colour, start home supply of antibiotics.
  • You are significantly more breathless, start home supply of steroids.

Click on the red traffic light for more information.


You are in the red zone and need to be looking out for the following more serious symptoms when:

  • You are extremely breathless or have difficulty breathing.
  • You feel drowsy or confused.
  • You have chest pain.
  • You have a high temperature.

If you have any of these or you are not feeling better after 48 hours of taking Rescue Medication you must contact your GP/ NHS 24 urgently or call 999 for an ambulance.

You may be treated at home or need a hospital admission for specialist treatment.