After stopping smoking, prevention and treatment of COPD exacerbations is one of the most important things you can do to help your lungs stay as healthy as possible. Being aware of changes in your lung disease symptoms is an important part of managing your illness. You can be symptomfree or symptom-stable for long periods of time. But then suddenly have breathing problems. These episodes or flare-ups of your lung disease are called “exacerbations.” These exacerbations may also be called “bronchitic flares.” They can lead to hospitalizations and can carry significant risks. Maintenance medicines can reduce the number of exacerbations. Aggressive treatment can help exacerbations.