Recognising an exacerbation
Prompt and appropriate treatment for exacerbations is required but management depends on recognising the nature of the episodes.
The diagnosis of a bacterial infection is made when a combination of symptoms exist.
The presence of three or more of the following symptoms in one day (in particular related to sputum and cough) for at least two consecutive days is a guideline for patients for the diagnosis of an exacerbation:
increased quantity of sputum
change in sputum colour
increased sinus discharge
new or increased haemoptysis
It is desirable for patients to have an action plan, including a prescription for an appropriate antibiotic, to commence when the above criteria for an exacerbation are met.