Asthma UK community forum

what to do at school

well, here's the problem, i am 17, go to school everyday and have severe asthma. lately i've been needing to use my ventolin reliever inhaler a lot more, just getting up the stairs and stuff like that. but i feel really self conscious about using my inhaler in front of the others, as they all jeer at me, tell me im weak and am just putting it on. so i can't bear to take my inhaler in front of them, but the other day i passed out because i couldn't breathe and would not take my medication. what can i do please?

9 Replies

My first thought is go and see your GP and see if there is anything else you could be taking as your asthma is cleary well out of control.

2nd ignore them, the only way you going to break this cycle is to use your inhaler and get on with it. If they see you not bothered by their jeering they will move on to someone else. Do you have a friend who can at least be with you when you are climbing stairs to offer moral support and help you ignore the idiots. I have 3 children who use inhalers at school and none of them are bothered and they never get teased using inhalers is common place these days everyone knows someone with one, I know some people are self concious about using them but bullying becuase of taking mediction is a no-no. Your school must have an anti-bullying policy it is also worth talking to your teachers about this to see if they can offer any practical support.

I know it seems harsh but you do have to get used to using inhalers all over the place when-ever you need them the only way you are going to do this is to adopt a ""so what"" attitude, people like those at your school thrive on a getting a reaction from you, if you don't give them one they will stop.



i agree with bex, u do have to think so what!

i can completly relate i am 17 and have severe asthma and i to have to use my reliver lots and of course i use when i need it, that maybe in front of friends or in class, my friends do take the mick and laugh and stare and i do feel a lil self concious. but i dont let that bother me casue i know if i dont take it i will get worse and then i really might make a scene!! One way i get over the mocking and impressions is by laughing with them, of couse i dont find it funny and sometimes the comnets do hurt but i dont let them see that.. but i do know that they are only doing it in jest so i tend to take all comments with a pinc of salt!

in regards to stairs my school has a lift and i can use that, if i do have to climb stairs i take i slowly and dont rush, the same with walking with friends i cant keep upo and often tag behind, but some ones normally realsies, and it makes me look weak and un fit ... but to be honest i couldnt careless casue again i know if i push myself then ill pay for the concequences.

Lastly what i would say i ALWAYS take your mds when you need them there is nopthing worse than getting worse becasue you havent taken your meds, my reliver isnt the turbo inhaler so i can normally take it quicly and most people dont notice!!

hope this helps a lil

katie xxxx

ps this might make you laugh .. one of my nicknames at school is mutley, becsue i wheeze when i laugh hence i sound like mutley !! lol!!



I have the same problem. I am not so much embarassed, because everyone at my school (it's very small) knows the full extent of my asthma and nobody makes fun of me. But whenever I pull out my inhaler, people get worried and will not stop asking me if I am ok and so on. I almost always go somewhere else if I am able so I won't attract attention. I wish I weren't self-conscious, but I am. Obviously, though, the only way to overcome it is to tell yourself that you know you will get worse if you don't take it, so get over it. Easier said than done, I know!!

I'm 17 too, by the way.

X Brynne


Such ignorant behaviour from your peers. Quite sickens me if I'm being honest.

I don't know how you'd feel about this but is it worth talking to your head or someone and asking if something specific to asthma could be taught in one of the lessons. School isn't what it was back in the dark ages when I attended but don't you have PHSE or something similar that covers health? Perhaps if an asthma nurse came into the school to talk about asthma the way people come in to talk about safe sex or drug abuse this might educate those that find your condition such a source of amusement? If they could be shown that struggling to breath through an asthma attack is like trying to suck air through a bent straw they'd have some concept of what you deal with each day? Just a thought.

I can only echo what everyone else has said. You need your inhaler. Hold your head up, look people straight in the eye and take your inhaler with the attitude 'Yes, this is me, taking my inhaler. What about it?'' I know I'm not in your shoes babe but people like to pick on those they view as weaker than themselves because it bolsters their sad self image. It's rather pathetic really. Every day you deal with a (lets be honest) potentially life threatening condition. In my eyes that makes you a tremendously strong person.

(((((((((((((((((( hugs to you ))))))))))))))))))

Hope you can sort something out.

Jacqui Mac


Oh dear, people can be so mean, try not to let them get to you - easier said than done though. Maybe you could try snarling at them if you haven't done that already that is because they won't expect that response from you or just think in your head 'get lost' or words to that effect! and block them out and concentrate on your breathing. I used to be real self conscious too, especially when using my nebuliser in public - i hated it but my daughter sorted me out and made me use it no matter where we were. Now i've got over it - i had a scare as well - a near miss and the Paramedic said i was very lucky this time but might not be the next so now i use my neb wherever and whenever and as soon as i need it. I don't even mind when people move away from me in cafes and on the bus cos they think i'm infectious, the mist from my neb looks like smoke i got asked to put my cig out or leave lol it was just my neb. So i guess what i'm trying to say is it does get better, hang on in there and it does get less embarrassing (honest). It just feels horrible though when you are going through it, hope things get better for you soon, your not alone, take good care, love Lois


Hi Im a special Ed Needs Teaching Assistant within a primary school.

I agree with Jacqui. .... I do go into classes and discuss the importantance of taking inhalers. I have made it my business to do this since attending various asthma courses within my area. My HeadTeacher even consults me on various aspects of asthma, I have contact with the Asthma Nurse. I have to say though We have come a long way as when i first started my job 8 years ago this would not have been allowed, but me getting on my soap box about this has brought the school a long way. Although I still have to convince some of the parents that asthma is life threatening. I have invited parents into school, to watch presentations and discussions with the asthma nurse and myself.

Please Do not let these idiotic people make you feel less of a person, just because they cant handle it, take ur inhaler, Its your life in the balance not theirs. This is what i am teaching the children to do in my school, i even have competions for those children who have remembered to take their inhalers to the PE lesson or swimming baths with them.

I just wander what these jeering Teens would do, if it was one of them that had asthma.

sorry to go on so much... i just get scared one day that it may kill you just because of a few idiots. You are worth more than that.


Hi Jrams

I completely understand where u are coming from, i have Type 2 brittle asthma i am on oxygen as i need it and have to neb at school every 4 hours. i have been like since i started high school, i am now at 6th form collage and it is much better. i think that it is the case that people do not relise how dangerous asthma can be, i have been attimitted to ITU loads of times and all my m8's come and see me even if i am unconcious, lol so stick with it. as long as u have got some close m8's who care, stuff the rest of them becuase at the end of the day when u leave school u probs will never see them again lol.

anyway take care!

best wishes,

rob x


aaaaah I remember it well

1st things, you deff need to get your meds reviewed, I agree that your astham seems out of control, talk to your GP tell them how you feel about taking your inhalers at school maybe they could try you on a different med.

Be honest about your illness, I got caught in the trap of ""well the blue one works quicker than the brown one"" at 15 years old. This resulted in me not being able to walk up a flight of stairs and at PE would get a 1/4 round the gym hall and have to take my inhaler. I was admitted to hospital following this.

When I saw my consultant I used to make up every excuse under the sun about why I didn't like a certain inhaler ""it gave me a sore throat"", ""it's giving me the shakes"" ""I feel dizzy with this one"" & "" I hate taking my inhalers at school"" god bless the poor fella, this went on for years (he retires in a few months) I'm sure I had something to do with the large bald patch on his head!!! lol

What I'm trying to say is, if you just knukle down and get on with it. Be honest about it all, especially to yourself. These are the cards you are dealt. If I had done that and if there was a web site like this when I was your age I most likley would have grown out of my asthma.

At school IGNORE them, if they get a reaction from you then they will just keep doing it. Stick to your real friends, oddly enough those are the ones that don't care that you have an inhaler with you. Are there any other asthmatics in the school, if there is quite a few maybe you could get together once a month, get a peer group going.

best of luck, chin up



I am 17 as well, but i have moderate asthma. I am insanely self conscious. This might seem a bit pathetic because i have never really been bullied because of my asthma, but i don't make it known to people at all (which is bad, because people should know). The only people who know are my closest friends and my teachers. Every time i need to take my inhaler i hide in the bathroom, or in a room where there is no one else. Although, there are numerous other asthmatics in my school who are very open about it.

Its probably not the best thing, or the right thing to do, as you probably have seen from other peoples posts. But hiding whenever taking your inhaler doesn't cause any attention at all, which i think for me, is the best. But then again, everyone is different.


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