Emergency services and asthma

Hi, I just wondered if anyone on here works in any of the emergency services and suffers with asthma? I'm in the police and find having asthma a right pain sometimes with my work and I really hate my colleagues knowing I have it. Had a relly bad chest infection not that long ago which set off my asthma and had to take a week off work and got moaned at for it. Just wondered if any one has had any problems from work, colleagues, managers etc or asthma affecting their work.


12 Replies

  • emergency services and asthma

    hi Danni...........im new to asthma and had a week off work after i struggled threw the xmas and new yr period then took a week of to recovery after only 2 days off they were ringing me asking when will i be bk which was sooo annoying as they knew how ill i was with chest infection/bronchitus..which bought on asthma.they never appreciated that i struggled threw the xmas and new yr so they wouldnt of had to find cover..now when asthma is bad im scared to take any time of cuz i know they wil be on the phone badgering me to come bk early...they just dont understand some bosses so i can see where ur coming from take care jackie...

  • hi i work for the NHS in the community and have to say my line manager is super. if i did as she said would prob be better off but as usual like to be very busy and help everyone all at the same time she just attempts to keep me in control. lol

  • On a similar note, is it possible to become a paramedic if you are asthmatic? I really want to become one in the not so distant future, but I have had 4 courses of prenisolone and two hospital admissions (though not overnight) requiring nebs in the past few years...will this work against my favour?

    Cheers, Emz

  • I had a paramedic who came to my house, and, when in my house started to wheeze, and become very poorly -like me - very quickly. We both ended up in hospital and in beds next to each other. Was in the days when I still had cats, but had not developed such a serious allergic response to them at that time.

    So yes, if you want to become a paramedic, asthma shouldn't hold you back.

  • Hi Jackels34 what is it you do? I only ever had my first really bad attack last year where I ended up in a&e needing several nebs fortunately whilst I was days off. My supervisers at the moment don't know I have asthma as I have only been in that department for 6 months and I dread having a bad spell where I need my inhaler coz I find it so embarrassing taking my inhaler infront of people.

    Crazybaby As for being a paramedic I know a few people that are asthmatic and are paramedics so you shouldn't have a problem if thats what you want to do. I think you need to have it reasonably under control though for obvious reasons


  • emergency services and asthma

    hi danni.......im a carer in the community..love the job and its very rewarding...when i told my boss she was very unsympathetic and was more worried if i could still cover the amount of hours i do which is around 45/50hrs a weeks between 7am - 9pm 7 days a week..i said i can only do my best and if i have to drop my hours i will do so..now cuz of the way she was i just get on with it and some days i struggle but say nothing...It shouldnt be like that though..but im going to pluck up the courage and ask for every other weekend of as i seem to more out in communtiy than i do with my family..probs wont go down very well....hope ur feeling gd today take care jackie xx..

  • I spend a lot of my day working with line managers to get them to manage sickness absence, and for an organisation its important to keep your workforce at work as much as possible (obviously), however, if you're ill, you should be at home - as collapsing at work and having to call an ambulance is terribly embarrassing, not to mention disruptive to the workplace.

    What I have discovered, though, is that managers are not always particularly sensitive when they telephone employees who are unwell to 'see how they are'. In many organisations, keeping in telephone contact with someone who is ill is a requirement, but often, because of the number of things that manager is trying to juggle, they do forget how they must sound!

    Line managers often want to know when you're likely to be back - just so they've got an idea whether they will need to get agency cover in, share work out, or leave it for when you come back, so they will probably ask you to estimate this. When I ring people, I always try and finish the conversation with - ""Well, you take care, and don't struggle back unless you're up to it"", which does help people realise I'm not a dragon-lady!

    I do sympathise that many of you have had different experiences, but, honestly, in most cases, its just managers being insensitive. Loads and Loads of you are desperate to stay in work as much as you can, and that's really impressive. There are a small few who really do play the system, and that's awful.

  • My work are surprisingly quite supportive of me and my asthma (i work in a city centre supermarket). My line manager can be slightly funny at times but has admitted i've scared her. They know if i am feeling bad i'l take time out or sit and read through paperwork etc for five/ten mins which the majority of the time is fine and works. however i do get the occassion when i need to stop what i'm doing there and then which can be quite embaressing but they are good at dealing with it as i still manage to get the job done or insist that taking an asthma attack can come off my break (not always the best of ideas!)

    I think though i like to have determination to actually work and i don't like calling in sick as i feel bad and my job is quite unique and no one ese is trained yet which makes it difficult as wel as i feel i need to be able to work so i sometimes feel my manager ets me work when really she shouldn't be. its difficult to decide wen you feel you are actually un-fit for work thogh.

  • hi i want 2 be a paramedic but i have read on this site and other places that if u have asthm u can only join with out or very littkle medaction for a few years. i hope i'm worng , any one no?


  • Hi Danni

    Did you have asthma before you joined the force? I would love to join the police force but i was advised that your not aloud to join if you are a asthmatic. Is this still true?



  • Hi julie I think what you have been told is a load of rubbish I've had asthma since I was a kid and although its got worse this last few years its never been an issue with work. Im sure it varies between each force but I know quite a few people in the police that are asthmatic and have been since before they joined. There was a girl when I was going through my training that had an asthma attack in class and the job didn't seem to be bothered by that. The best thing to do is ring the occupational health department of which ever force you want to join and ask them what their criteria is.

    Hope that helps.


  • Obviously like with any job it depends on the severity of you asthma? if you can prove that it wont affect your daily job then there wont be a problem. Employers cant use it as an excuse now under disability discrimination act, but where they have to draw the line is if it affects you regularly or if it will put you or clients in danger?

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