Taking medicine in public : (

Hi all , I just wondered how others find this. I am not the shy retiring type normally but I hate taking my inhaler whilst I'm out. The trouble is I need it alot right now so I dont have a choice & its usually needed when I am right in the middle of the street or shop. It is so hard to be discreet when taking an inhaler in a spacer. Nobody has said anything to me but I have had some funny looks.

S.Mama

31 Replies

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  • I know how you feel, I hate having to neb in public, but sometimes, I figure that if people can't take me as I am, warts and all, they're not worth my time, patience or anything else. I know it can feel unsettling when people rubberneck, but sometimes, if they ask, myself or my partner explain what it is I am doing and why I have to do this.

  • Hi shoppingmama,

    I do too feel self conscious about taking my inhaler in public and hide the best I can and dash off into a corner if I can find one! Other people have a good stare and muttered to themselves and the best one woman even tutted at me and said I should stay inside because I had swine flu - that was in the doctors! She was rather abruptly corrected and went off with a flea in her ear! Glad it's not just me - Ithought it was me being daft!

  • Thanks for replying to me. I went to a girls night in at the w/end & had to have a neb whilst there. I knew everyone but for some reason I came over all shy as none of them had seen me do it before! I really cant understand why I am feeling this way but its part of our life so it doesn't really matter what others think I guess!

    S.Mama

    xxxx

  • I can only deal with very close family watching me take an inhaler. I can't do it in public and will usually find a toilet where I can lock the door. Not the healthiest place I guess. I did manage to show the chest consultant that I can take it properly but it was a bit of a botched attempt. He has no idea how honoured he was!

  • TS, I have stuck my head in my handbag to take my inhaler before so that nobody will see me! My teenage daughters were with me & they were mortified!

    S.Mama

    xxxx

  • I'm not sure why I do it either, maybe its because I've always tried to hide my asthma from people. I started doing that as a very small child.

    Corners, toilets and handbags.... I think the handbag is winning!

  • I used to hide while taking my inhaler, but unfortunately, a neb is a lot harder to hide. It was funny once, we were waiting for a bus and people were literally hanging out of cars just to get an eyeful of what I was doing...

  • In public

    You poor things, try not to let yourself be judged by ignorance. I guess after 40 years I've got used to it, and now if I'm in a room or vehicle and the lack of air is too much for me, I will ask them to open a window and take my meds.

    As an afterthought, just remember that a lot of those ignorant old biddies are able to hide their 'tenna ladies', but it doesn't mean that they are not wearing them.

  • I am quite self conscious about taking my inhaler in public too, although out of necessity I've got a lot better at it this winter. Nowadays (with the exception of my fiancé) I don't like taking it in front of friends and family as they tend to panic, it's nice that they care but extremely unhelpful. I also find it really difficult to ask people not to smoke/use aerosols etc around me and as an extension of that I hate taking my inhaler around these people too.

  • Thanks everyone, I will just have to keep carrying my biggest handbag around then! Maybe I will get used to medicating in public one day.

    S.Mama

    xxxxx

  • I use to be shy taking mine in public ,but now i just dont bother what people think and think its their problem and feel ok.Just glad people are around should i need help xxx

  • I don't mind taking mine in public now, then at least people know why I've got a barking cough and it's not that I'm 'sick' as such! Plus, it makes people more aware about asthma I guess. I don't usually carry a spacer with me though, just take the inhaler. :-)

  • Taking ur medicine in public or taken to a and e in An ambulance. Ur choice as to which one u like the most......

  • To Cubi: Thanks for making me laugh about Tena Ladies:0

    Gussypoo: That was a bit hard! I struggled for years with using a nebuliser in public, now I don't give it a second thought because it seems a natural part of me. I remember a filthy look I was given once for injecting myself with Bricanyl in a public toilet, it wasn't like I was doing it Intravenously just a quick stab in the leg, I could just has easily been giving myself a life saving insulin injection. With that kind of reaction it is hard for some people to treat themselves publicly without feeling like they are the object of everyone's attention. Sadly there are some humans out there who are too much of a busybody and like paying attention to those less fortunate, because they have nothing better do. Its a form of ""Rubber Necking"" I suppose, like those who have to look at someone who has come to grief in the street or road.

    Of course no one should delay taking their medication because of embarrassment, but be supportive and suggest ways and coping strategies instead.

    A little story here follows:-

    On a train home from Paddington London several years ago, feeling the effects of City Pollution and dashing down the platform to get a seat on the train needed my neb. I was using the Omron Micro Air which was very new and high tech so not instantly known as a nebuliser. Was getting lots of stares from some fellow commuters so just casually announced that I was trying out a new device to inhale Cannabis the 21st century way (I don't support illegal drug taking), it broke the uncomfortable feelings around me, many had a good laugh, one chap jokingly asked if he may join, and I spent the next four hours of what would have been a very boring train journey having enjoyable conversation.

  • Hiya all,

    I really know where you're coming from and I think we all have the same problem. It happens a lot to me in supermarkets, too I also try to find a quit corner and only use the inhaler without the spacer until I quickly make my way back to the car for the spacer.

    Since I've had an attack in the middle of a car park and first response car and ambulance came for me I see things a bit differently. Like gussypoo said it's less embarrassing taking an inhaler in public than having the ambulance coming for you!

    I have a couple of friends who take their insulin in public, that has also helped me think about it all.

    The ""putting the head in the bag"" has made me laugh-- been there myself lol.

    Glad I'm not the only one;-)

    xx

  • Maybe it was harsh but I've been in the health care setting where people have been really unwell as a result of not taking medicine. Its never a good experience for the person or their families esp when it could be prevented............

    Maybe I need my sugar fix !!!!! Sorry for being grumpy !!!!

  • Gussypoo, of course you are right & taking medicine in public over being taking away in an ambulance is the prefered option. I guess over time it gets easier to do & hearing others experiences is always helpful. Thanks all.

    S.Mama

    xxxx

  • This topic has come up before and I think it's really interesting. It's also good to know how other people cope.

    I'm sort of ok about using my inhaler in public - in front of strangers is fine because altho people stare they generally leave you to it. I find it much harder to do in front of people I know - at work I'll do it in the toilets, and I usually do it in private at home. I don't want to worry people or have to answer lots of questions.

  • Gamba, I agree about it being harder infront of people you know. With strangers it is probably a case of you are unlikely to see them again so why worry. With work collegues or family it isn't like that. My Mum for example finds it quite upsetting when I need the neb but my nieces use it as an excuse to play Dr's & nurses with me!

    S.Mama

    xxxx

  • I dont like taking my inhalers in front of my parents as my mum realy worries for me

    and knows how bad things can get.

    i told her if see me taking my purple one or grey one and tabs im ok but if see me taking my

    easyhaler them my breathing is not good.

    That made my mum feel better.

    Im ok taking mine when out and about but my easyhaler does not need a spacer xxxxx

  • Nebs in public

    I had to use my neb in costa this morning. I try to avoid using it in public but i just couldn't breath. I was asked if i was ok by a staff member and if i needed anything. It was fine. Its more my embarrassment often rather than others. I do find that using it in a quiet coffee shop easier than at a bus stop or outside as your asked less and stared at less.

  • This might sound odd, but I think it really helps - if I'm out and about, I often have headphones in, listening to music. I find it much easier to use an inhaler in public if I'm listening to music - I realised this must be the case when I noticed I would wait until loud bits in the songs to use my inhaler on public transport! I find it harder to use in front of people I know, especially colleagues, than random general public.

  • Friend who smokes came in today. I started coughing shortly afterwards. Left DH talking with her, excused myself and went out to hall, closing door after me. Took two salbutamol puffs, sitting on the stair rather than embarass her.

  • peez and wheez ha

    Hi i am a asthma and tenna lady, ha ha i find it so funny after reading these replies i am thinking differently now, i had to use my inhaler outside the other day, and couldnt help giggling to myself afterwards ( both ends oh dear) sorry... you have made me feel so relaxed using my meds in public we all get old hopefully with a sense of humour, i am 57 just been diag with asthma, love you all xxx

  • When i was young i never gave a thought to using my nebulizer etc in public places or in front of my family. However as the years have gone by i have become more and more secretive. I seldom use my nebulizer in front of anyone now. I schedule my days to accomodate my treatment and on the days when i fear that i will need prn treatment i ensure that i am safely hidden from the world. crazy!!

    However will pin down my little one in any situation to administer his medication if necessary. The looks you get in a shopping centre when your child dispite coughing and wheezing manages to protest at full volume whilst pulling a pitiful 'poor me face'.

  • As a teen i was sometimes self concious about using my inhaler dependinh who i was with but all that has had to change! Being on o2 has changed the y way i think!!!

    I will now neb, test my blood sugar and inject insulin wherever and when ever i need to!

    as far as im concerned what i do stay alive is no one elses business, if someone comments i will reply either factually or sometimes if appropriate a sarcy retort. i do try and be discreet with blood testing and needles as i know mant people are phobic.

    As for nebs i have no qualms about where i neb except mayb in a costa waiting room as nurses do tend to panic! i have had tp deal with a friend who had an attack and due to embarrassment about her inhaler anded up in a and e and i cetainy would rather neb! I have been asked not to smoke before , if the neb fumes would affect peeps around me and such like so now if im able i use it as a chance to educate.

    Please guys put yourseld first and tbh 95% of the time others around u dont give a flying fig what u are doing so get on with it, and with regards to using in front of family and friends im sure they would rather see you use it and abate an attack than visit u is hossie!!!!

  • As a teen i was sometimes self concious about using my inhaler dependinh who i was with but all that has had to change! Being on o2 has changed the y way i think!!!

    I will now neb, test my blood sugar and inject insulin wherever and when ever i need to!

    as far as im concerned what i do stay alive is no one elses business, if someone comments i will reply either factually or sometimes if appropriate a sarcy retort. i do try and be discreet with blood testing and needles as i know mant people are phobic.

    As for nebs i have no qualms about where i neb except mayb in a costa waiting room as nurses do tend to panic! i have had tp deal with a friend who had an attack and due to embarrassment about her inhaler anded up in a and e and i cetainy would rather neb! I have been asked not to smoke before , if the neb fumes would affect peeps around me and such like so now if im able i use it as a chance to educate.

    Please guys put yourseld first and tbh 95% of the time others around u dont give a flying fig what u are doing so get on with it, and with regards to using in front of family and friends im sure they would rather see you use it and abate an attack than visit u is hossie!!!!

  • The head in handbag trick is classic!

    im a stable asthmatic but when on nights out clubbing with friends i often have to use my reliever due to the smoke machines in clubs, im very shy about using inhalers in public and often use the head in handbag trick or if my bags not big enough the 'pretend to hug me' with my close friends so that i can use my inhaler without being stared at by joe public

  • At first I'd sneak of to the ladies, but I can't tolerate the scented disinfectants, air freshners and/or people spraying perfume, so now I just take it, if people wanna stare that's their problem not mine.

  • Hi, I have no problems whatsoever using inhaler in public.

    Couldnt care less what strangers think.

    They dont know me, so why should i care?

    I do however, try to avoid using my nebulizer in front of my youngest daughter.

    She is 25, but she saw me have a bad attack last week.

    I had no option & had to use my neb.

    She knows i have asthma & is ok when i use inhalers.

    But she got so upset when she saw the neb.

    I assured her i was fine & no need to worry, but she just couldnt accept it

    So no probs re people i know,

    But dont want my daughter see me like that ever again

  • I dont like taking mine in public, i feel daft :(

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