The symptoms of acute exacerbations are treated using short-acting bronchodilators. A course of corticosteroids, usually in tablet or intravenous rather than inhaled form, can speed up recovery.  The IV and oral forms of steroids have been found to be equivalent.  Antibiotics are often used but will only help if the exacerbation is due to an infection.  Antibiotics are indicated when a patient notes increased sputum production,  purulent sputum,  increased dyspnea ,  has an elevated white count, or is febrile . Examples of first-line antibiotics are amoxicillin,  doxycycline,  and co-trimoxazole . 
Genetics play a role in the development of COPD.  It is more common among relatives of those with COPD who smoke than unrelated smokers.  Currently, the only clearly inherited risk factor is alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency (AAT).  This risk is particularly high if someone deficient in alpha 1-antitrypsin also smokes.  It is responsible for about 1–5% of cases   and the condition is present in about three to four in 10,000 people.  Other genetic factors are being investigated,  of which many are likely. 
Family history is a risk factor for asthma, with many different genes being implicated.  If one identical twin is affected, the probability of the other having the disease is approximately 25%.  By the end of 2005, 25 genes had been associated with asthma in six or more separate populations, including GSTM1 , IL10 , CTLA-4 , SPINK5 , LTC4S , IL4R and ADAM33 , among others.  Many of these genes are related to the immune system or modulating inflammation. Even among this list of genes supported by highly replicated studies, results have not been consistent among all populations tested.  In 2006 over 100 genes were associated with asthma in one genetic association study alone;  more continue to be found.