Anyone else really fed up with schools? - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum
14,075 members19,375 posts

Anyone else really fed up with schools?


I'm now moving into year 9. I always end up having a lot of time off school because of my asthma and to top it off i get tonsilitus a few times a year (if i get it once more this year there comming out). The school don't really like the ammount of time i need off school and if i do come in and i don't take part in PE because of my asthma the PE depmartment will start complaining. I don't really care how much they complain as if i can't breath then i don't see much point in struggling around school all day.

Anyone else have this problem with the schools?

13 Replies

Hi :) This kind of situation is quite common I think, it is something which the Asthma UK Youth Forum Ambassadors are keen to highlight the importance of,of how asthma is managed in schools for example when you have an attack or P.E lessons. From personal experience, my asthma wasn't always managed properly when I had an attack, when I had difficulties with P.E and time off due to being unwell. Have your parents spoken to your school about this? Perhaps if your parents saw your year head or wrote a letter to them it may help, or if that doesn't work maybe speaking to your GP and/or Asthma Nurse and ask them to speak to the school/writing a letter to them explaining why you need time off because of your asthma and why you struggle with P.E aswell as explaining what needs to be done when you have an attack at school. By the way there is an asthma messageboard for younger people too called Kick Asthma that may be useful to you too. I hope that helps a little. Take care, simi.


Hi i know how u felling i am moving into year 11 and last year i had so much time of school because of my asthma and i get tonsilitius a few times a year as while maybe not as much as u but stll.

I know what mean when the school dose nit want u to take any more time off because of and they want u to do pe but really do not woory if u are off quite a lot why don't u ask for some work so u can do it at home this really helped me this year.



Being a pe teacher myself, and one who suffers with asthma, I'm always curious to hear pupils talk about a pe dept being upset with them when they take time off, or cannot do pe. I know that there are some occasions where exercise can induce a mild asthma related reaction, but, to be honest, exercise has been proven to have a benificial effect upon asthma. The major example of this is swimming (which I have done since the age of 6).

Although I do not know the specifics of your particular asthma related problems, I do still encourage you to partcipate in sport, Paula Radcliffe (female marathon world record holder) and David Beckham (england footballer) both suffer, and are top athletes. Asthma suffers can do sport (and in the case of the 2 mentioned) just as well and better than everyone else!


I would get exercise induced symptoms when I attempt to do most exercise, despite maximal medication and careful planning such as taking my ventolin beforehand. When poorly I cannot walk to lectures, I think participating on PE would be nigh on impossible. I think Francesca is implying that during an asthma exacerbation she does not take part in PE, because it would cause severe asthma symptoms. I too have found PE teachers unsympathetic to this.

Don't forget that some people may have very severe symptoms that prevent them from taking part in ordinary PE classes with their peers, but they may feel more comfortable pursuing exercise in their own time. It can be very embarassing to feel that you cannot keep up with your peers.


I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you a.teacher, and to be honest feel that what was written in your post was quite insulting.

Exercise for some people with asthma can cause much more than a 'mild asthma related reaction', and although, yes there are athletes marathon runners, olympic medalists etc with asthma that can do sports there are also a lot of people for which exercise is a big trigger.

I for example ended up not doing PE after year 9 because I was hospitalised following many PE lessons- thus not a mild reaction. It is important to remember that everybody with asthma is different and just because one person can tolerate a lot of exercise doesn't mean that another person can.


I think that Francesca's saying that when her asthma's bad then she can't do PE - not all the time - is that what you meant Francesca? This was discussed at length on one on the blog - the attitude that if David Beckham blah blah can do it blah blah. I'll try and find the comments for you. The thing is that it is simply not so black and white. Symptoms vary, for all sorts of reasons. Exercise is indeed excellent for asthma, but if it is giving you symptoms that are not helped by your reliever, then perhaps you should talk to your doctor or nurse about it? It can sometimes mean that your asthma is being controlled as well as it should be. If your asthma's also causing you to be off school a lot too, then this might be another sign that you could need your treatment reviewed by your asthma specialist.

Do you have a supportive group of friends at school? Or perhaps a teacher that knows you well and can support you too? You are obviously worried, so it might help in the first instance to talk to your form tutor with your parents or another adult with you, and get something in writing too? You could then go to see the head or other teachers with the support of your tutor. Do the school have a plan of action for you if do have an asthma attack etc? There's some really fabulous examples on this website somewhere, I'll look for them and post a link when I find them!

Hope this helps. xx

Hi Francesca, it must be a real worry for you. I am asthmatic and had my tonsils out at the age of 35 (best thing I did, no more trouble). Both my Sons have asthma, my youngest year 5 has severe and difficult asthma, he can be well for ages then have severe attacks. He is a fantastic runner but often very ill after competitions. The last one he came 1st running for our local area but had a severe attack afterwards. He did have his inhalers before hand. It is such a worry, he never has a mild reaction after sports.He also does competitive swimming but can't do this when his asthma is really bad, it's too much of a risk. When my Son's asthma is not in control he does not do P.E

He also had a bad school report last year because his attendance is low, but the school cannot take care of him properly when he's ill. They proved this a few months ago after not informing me of a severe attack and needing to use his nebuliser or calling an ambulance.

It may be an idea to take some information to school about asthma (check this website), people just don't get it. They see someone famous doing sports using an inhaler and suddenly all asthmatics can join in.

Take care and hope you can get some help and support



Rattles - wise, wise words. I remember your post vividly about your son. I was appalled with your son's school. Your post and now Francesca's has made me very aware about flippant attitudes to disease and I shall make an appointment straight away to see my son's future teacher to get the low-down on their asthma policy. xxx


You go girls! :o)

Sorry a. teacher but unfortunately (and I am assuming it's just because you don't have sufficient information) a lot of people have a hell of a lot more than a ""mild"" reaction to sport, you are talking about the mildest end of a very large spectrum and I'm afraid I found your post a bit insensitive.

What you need to remember is that asthma can be a desperately severe and disabling condition and there are people who use this site from the entire spectrum.

I think most of us are only too keen to minimise the impact asthma has on our everyday lives and what we are able to do - please find out some more information.



Oh btw, Hi Francesca.......maybe the post from a. teacher kind of demonstrates the issues which you are encountering with school?

Stand your ground girl, taking in more information is always good in these kind of situations. Maybe you could get your school nurse on side if she's good? You should be able to find out who that is from the school or alternatively from your Primary Care Trust.

Have you and your parents had a discussion with school about how the work can be managed when you are ill? Alternatively you could involve the Educational Welfare Dept, they are there to help you - not just pursue truants! Getting your GP on side could be an idea too to evidence the time off you have.

Best of luck - let us know how you get on!



I have to admit that most people (including teachers) really have no idea how asthma can effect children's schooling and participation in sport.

My son is 14 and has severe exercise induced asthma, on a background of uncontrolled asthma despite trying numerous meds.

He loves sport!

Up until he was 12 he was a top national level gymnast, but had to stop due to the poor control and unpredictability of his asthma. At this level he was training 20 hours a week and could not afford time off due to illness. His asthma cost him a place on the Great Britain squad and after missing 3 months due to being unable to train at all he very reluctantly decided to call it a day.

He now plays on a basketball team which is not as intense from a training point of view (if he misses a few sessions or cannot play in a match it's not the end of the world), and can play in a match for as long or as little time as he can manage. He is so determined to play for his team that he regularly requires 40puffs of Ventolin during a session and has pushed himself so hard at other times an ambulance has had to be called. He hates people making a fuss about him and has refused medical treatment on far to many occasions (He has been spoken to about this a number of times!)

What I am trying to say is asthma is a very real, challenging disease for many young people who just want to live life to the full but cannot. Peoples lack of understanding can have a very negative effect and be extremely detrimental. My son can't play outdoor sports as both the cold air and pollen have a hugh effect on him and he would end up in hospital. This isn't because he doesn't want to, it's purely because he can't.

I wish more could be done to educate people about the devestating effect asthma can have on peoples lives.


I know that there are some occasions where exercise can induce a mild asthma related reaction..."" probably going to win the award for ""understatement of the year"". And it's still only January!

A point that we constantly try to get across on the Kick Asthma holidays is one that agrees with the sentiment of a.teacher's post (if not the delivery!), and that is that asthma need not be a limiting factor in the majority of cases. The examples given by a.teacher are excellent ones - I might also mention CathBear and her running exploits, despite being BTS stage 4 (for those who know what that means) - but they are all reliant on one thing: that the person you're talking about has asthma that can be controlled.

By its very nature, a message board such as this is going to attract people who are at the more severe end of the asthma spectrum, and our many members with brittle asthma are well aware of the fact that they can't achieve true control of their asthma, no matter how hard they try. Even if you're not brittle, exercise is a common asthma trigger - so unsurprisingly, in people for whom this is the case, exercise can bring on a full-blown asthma attack.

I think the main thing to consider here is that asthma is a VERY individual thing - sweeping generalisations in either direction (""everyone with asthma can exercise if they want to""/""no-one with asthma can exercise without having an attack"") are pointless.


Hi Francesca,

I agree with many of the responses to a.teachers remarks but I feel this issue has been addressed.

I was in a similar position to you at secondry school, spending a huge amount of time off school as I spent so much time in hospital due to my asthma and chest infections etc.

I was fortunate that the head of PE, the school nurse and many of the teachers listened carefully to the information given to the school from my doctors and parents.

I will also be the first to admit that for a number of years I stubbornly tried to participate in PE before I was well enough which set me back or landed me back in hospital.

I don't know the specifics of your asthma but some of the things we did to ensure I was able to be at school when not quite 100 percent really helped my attendance and left me more willing to wait until fully better before getting into my beloved PE kit.

The school site I was at was large so we had one nebuliser with the nurse + one in the PE dept accompanied by a spare inhaler.

My best friends and teachers were educated about my asthma - how to spot symptoms, where my inhalers were and which to use and to always get the nurse in the event of an attack.

When I wasn't well enough to be out of hospital I had course work and catch up work brought to me at the ward, this really helped during my GCSE's.

I think that it is crucial that the staff you are encountering problems with are educated about your asthma, and made fully aware that one label doesn't fit all.

The Asthma UK nurses are so lovely and helpful and AUK have neumerous leaflets you can order which could help get your point across.

If you are having difficulty controlling your asthma on your current medication seeing your GP or consultant could lead to other possibilities.

Good luck and hang in there.

PS there's a throat spray called Ultra chlorasceptic (spelling?) You can get over the counter that really helps me with throat infections and tonsilitis.

You may also like...