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Embarrassed by my asthma

Okay you're all probably gonna think I'm stupid, but I find my asthma really embarrassing. I find it really difficult to tell my friends and family, and have only told my fiancé, my closest friends and my parents. I hate having to take my inhaler in public as it feels like everyone is staring at me. I have on several occasions delayed taking my Ventolin until I could slip away and take it on my own out of sight, and I often seem to need more Ventolin than usual if I do this. Since I got switched to the accuhaler (I don't get on well with the propellant in MDIs and in my opinion the accuhaler is more discrete) I'm getting better at at taking the inhaler in front of strangers (chances are I'll never see them again anyway), but I still find it deeply embarrassing to use around people I know.

I suspect I find it such a problem because I know a very attention seeking individual (not just with asthma stuff but in all situations) who always makes a huge song and dance over using their inhalers. This person spends 10 minutes rubbing their abdomen saying that they're trying to decide if they're having an asthma attack before waving their reliever around like a flag so that as many people as possible will come rushing to make sure they are ok, not to mention ""accidentally forgetting"" to take morning preventer doses on a daily basis so that they can be taken when there's an audience (again inhaler is waved in as many people's faces as possible to get as much sympathy as they can). Most of my friends (even other asthmatics) have got annoyed with this and the other attention seeking behaviours (e.g. stropping and walking out of someone else's birthday party because they weren't the centre of attention) that they just ignore it now, obviously if this person were in any real trouble we'd help, but it's always about getting attention. I guess there's a part of me that's worried that friends will think I'm attention seeking like this person and think less of me. I really don't understand this person at all, the last thing I want when I'm feeling breathless is people crowding and fussing around me.

I know I'm probably being daft I know but it's a huge problem for me and I just can't seem to get past it. Sorry for the moan and thanks for reading

Edit: Correcting typo's and clarification

12 Replies

just ask yourself. if when out with friends you took an asthma attack. would your friends know what to do..... by informing them or using your inhaler in front of them, least they would know to get your reliever instead of starring and wondering what to do.


Hello, I just wanted to say, I feel very similar to you!

I don't mind using my reliever in front of strangers, but I'm really self-conscious about using it infront of people I know. Where possible I'll go to an empty room/the bathroom at work, etc. And there have been occasions I've had worse symptoms and even 2 attacks because I was too embarrassed to say anything or take my inhaler.

After the second attack I realised I was being daft so I have made a big effort to be more open about being unwell. It's still hard but it's much better for me!


I get this too. If I need my ventolin at work I leave the office and go to the toilets or into the kitchen. I'll delay getting treatment because I don't want to cause a fuss. I was mortified a few weeks back when I had an attack at work and the director (an asthmatic herself) looked at me and sent me off to get treatment. When I'm singing in church I often struggle, and I feel stupid taking it when sitting in the choir stalls. I know it's daft, but I just don't want to be seen to be causing a fuss.

So I sympathise.


I get this too. I hate using my nebuilser when out in public. I feel like everyone stops what they are doing and stares at me! I also hate it when people ask me why i smoking or try and tell me that smoking is bad for me. If i put off using my nebuilser i end up really ill later in the day.

I think a lot of people if they are honest get embarrassed by there asthma at points.


It is embarrassing isn't it but having said that I find it more embarrassing sounding like a sealion when i don't use it :-). My daughter also hates to hear me like that so for me its the embarrassing inhaler that wins everytime.

Anyone else had a relapse since Sunday/Monday? Can't get on top of it and off work again (lets wait for the hr meeting). No point in going to gp as he won't hear a wheeze and my peak flow will register as normal on his little chart even though its 70% of best and decreasing daily...

sorry ignore the rant just feeling fed up.



i too get embarrased by asthma. i will try and make it as discreat as possible. i work with disabled children and if i get wheezy there its like being a hipocrite because you tell them to take it but you dont.

i was performing one time on stage as part of the joseph choir and i was on stage when they shoot out smoke from a smoke machine and god did i get tght chested and all but couldnt do anything until the interval which was an hour later. i really made that worse by my own fault because i wouldnt slide off.

i have been in pe in the past including today and it has gotten pretty bad. the first time it got pretty bad i just sat quietly in the corner not making a fuss. the second i kind of had to because i didnt have my inhaler on me so i didnt really ave a choice and now i make my teacher aware and leave the room briefly because they have said its ok.

i try not to be embarrased because i go on weekends away and stuff with my youth club and the youth worker is asthmatic but its just me so i do try and sneak off if possible and they kind of know the warning signs now.

i also belong to a swimming club and will not get out of the pool to use it until the very last moment.

Jess x


I have a slight hatred of my asthma. And I must admit I am a little embarressed. Ecspecially when I have to neb in school and comments are made.

But at the end of the day we can't help having asthma. I have friends with diabetes who inject themselves in school and nobody bats an eye lid at them, so why should it be any different for us? My favourite so far was when someone in my class said behind my back ""Is that a bong?!"" and I turned around and said ""Yea, want some?!""

Just look at it as them being immature. It's much easier.


I am exactly the same. I put a post on here a few months ago about it I'll dig it out and bump it up for you to read

Smithy x


Thanks for your comments everyone I'll just have to get over it I know, but it's helpful to see what helped you get past it. Thanks again Ladies and Gents xx


Ok, last night in church someone had gone a little mental with the censor and there was a lot of incense floating about. It messed things up getting a lung full of that every time I inhaled!

So I was brave and used my inhaler during the communion hymn before the mammoth anthem we were due to sing. I couldn't have made it through without it.


I don't have asthma my self but my boyfriend does and yesterday

He went down at uni and was rushed to hospital got there

to find him covered in blood from coughing it but he

was more worried about what other people would say next time

he goes to uni he already has to use o2 there..

But this is how I see it your friends know you and will love you know

matter what chances are they will think your mimking the annoying friend

but I wouldn't delay treatment because of other people

really what do they matter when health is involved.

Take care and don't be embarrassed just think

it makes you different from your friends.

Harry xXx

Typo *no matter what*


I used to sneak into toilets to take my puffer. It gets better with age. I am now 36 and i dont give a monkies who sees me but i used to be really embarrassed. I think it is your personality and it would be the same with anything that made you stand out. As you get on a bit you stop worrying what other people think so much its great! One of the advantages to ageing.


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