Research has shown that if people with COPD are treated with antibiotics at the first sign of a respiratory infection (eg, a cold or flu), they are much less likely to be admitted to hospital.
So, if you do have COPD and a respiratory tract infection, your doctor will look for these early signs and may prescribe an antibiotic (usually amoxicillin or doxycycline) for you.
There are other medicines you can take to help manage the symptoms of a respiratory tract infection. These include paracetamol or ibuprofen for relieving pain and fever, and decongestants and saline nasal sprays or drops for relieving a blocked nose. Some of these over-the-counter medicines may not be suitable for you, so always check with your doctor or pharmacist before using them.
Your doctor may also prescribe corticosteroids (eg, prednisone) and/or bronchodilators to help you breathe more freely (eg, salbutamol, terbutaline, or ipratropium bromide), as well as your regular medicines while you are ill.