Asthma UK community forum
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asthma really isn't funny

Just thought I would share this with you.

I was at work yesterday on a training course at work which was quite physical and with the really cold air my chest was getting tight. I was physically working really hard and new I was struggling but didn't want to let myself down or my colleagues down so kept battling on. Anyway suprise surprise I ended up having an attack and my colleagues thought it was really funny and couldn't stop laughing calling me a drama queen as i was really struggling to catch my breath. I've never been so humiliated in all my life and was really upset by the whole thing.


13 Replies

wow that's really awful!

I can't believe mature adults would laugh at something like that - I'd expect it from some kids perhaps but still. gobsmacked :-o


Awh, that is awful - I am sure you were embarrassed, and after you had battled on for the sake of your team!! Thats terrible.

I hope you feel better soon. I always think that if people knew how bad asthma can be they would change their tune!

Take care x x


Hi Danni,

That must have been awful for you made worse by an insensitive idiot. I know you are new in your job but I would report whoever did that to your manager as it really is workplace bullying & is highly illegal.

I hope you are ok now & you're feeling better x



I'm sorry you've been through this experience. As others have said, it is bullying - maybe your line manager would be able to have a quiet word with them?



Hi Danni,

that is outrageous!

I assume it was a team building excersise that you were taking part in?

If so your team has failed to be a team at all - teams are supposed to look after every member of your team. I would speak to your line manager or even your federation rep (Just noticed your occupation)

If you have a feedback form, tell them that your team failed completely and be honnest! They were the weak members - not you!

I hope you are feeling better today & take care



Hi Danni

Im sorry you had to deal with people who were so unsupportive and immature.

I agree with the others. This is bullying and should be reported as so. I am totally appalled that people in your line of work can have attitudes like that about asthma.

Hope you are feeling better now.



thanx guys I'm feeling loads better now. Its difficult sometimes as I am the only female on my department and unfortunately its known as 'jobs for the boys' and complaining about someone will just make things so much worse, so i'll just keep my mouth shut and get on with it and hope it doesn't happen again.

I know I should do something about it but I fear it will just make things harder for me than they already are

Danni xx


I am sorry to hear about your poor experience and shear inept of your 'team' What they seem to forget is that everytime you have a serious attack, it's potentially life threatening. Sorry if that's a bit melodramatic but it's true.

I was fortunate, when I had a major at work, my colleagues sorted me out.


Dear Danni,

I was outraged when I read your post. But having also worked in macho environments know what it can be like. However I believe that it is essential for people in your line of work to realise what an asthma attack is, and how to help. I guess that your own personal knowledge may end up saving someones life!!

So why don't you try and use that opportunity to arrange a subsequent trraining session to educate your colleagues in how to recognise and help ashtmatics, maybe someone from asthma uk could come along, and prehaps a local asthma nurse or someone from a and e. Then prehaps they would have a better idea.

Anyway good luck, and I hope you manage to sort this out.



really is quite worrying that this is our police force's attitude to asthma- I would second the idea of a training session.

Hope the lungs have settled down after all that.



Hi Danni -

I'm so sorry to hear about your experience - it sounds horrendous. They obviously have no idea of what it can feel like to not be able to get their breath.

I don't know what sort of working relationship you have with them normally, and if this is something that you think you might be able to arrange - but I've seen it used in a training session about asthma given by a doctor and asthma nurse after a similar situation- VERY successfully, and I have subsequently used it myself in a couple of official and some ad-hoc teaching sessions at work to give non-asthmatic medical/nursing students/nurses/junior doctors(!!) an idea of what their patients are experiencing ....the looks on their faces were a picture, and they all said it completely changed their pre-conceived views on what it would be like to have asthma. [the ad-hoc sessions to nurses/nursing students & junior docs were whilst as a patient in my own hospital!]

now - I may get shot down in flames as being irresponsible for even describing this on the boards which is why i'll emphasise that for safety this is something that should be done under the supervision of someone medically trained running a training session such as described above.... and i'll duck for cover after pressing send but here goes....

this should only be done by healthy people

... choosing to participate

... with no medical problems

....and only for a short while

... stopping as soon as the person participipating feels any distress/discomfort/tiredness (as they, unlike

us...chose to try this, and CAN just stop when they like!)


get the person to breathe through a straw or two, whilst holding their nose with the other hand.....

gives a fairly good example of the increased work of breathing,

disproportionate difficulty breathing out compared to in...

You'll find the person will not like it for long. but if they dont stop doing it within a short (cos they are trying to prove a point).. stop them anyway just in case.

anyway - will retreat to to my hospital bed awaiting the possible appoaching interesting responses.....



I did the straw example with my brownies with no problems, since then they seem to be alot better behaved when im not too good as they understand more.

maybe as KSD said try it with your colleagues.


The straw method is a pretty good one, and is perfectly safe in people who don't have any health problems. If you really want to make the point, try joining two or even three straws together by pushing them into each other and taping - and then ask them to breath through it. Then get them to shut their eyes and imagine that no matter how much they want to, they *can't* take the straw away... and watch the looks of panic develop! You could also ask them to try to do some gentle exercise whilst breathing through the straw, to emphasise how difficult it is - I would suggest marching the feet up and down on the spot whilst in a sitting position, rather than getting up and walking, just to be safe.

Another thing which works quite well is to get people (again, healthy people only), to take a large breath in, filling their lungs almost to capacity, and then take *another*, smaller breath in on top of that, and try to breath out at tidal breathing volumes (gentle, normal breaths in and out) without fully exhaling the big breath first. This gives an idea of what it's like to have chronic or severe asthma, and have hyperinflated lungs with air trapping, stopping you taking in much air each time.

I remember as a teenager having an asthma attack in town one evening, due to cold air and cigarette smoke, and being told by a police officer that I was a) drunk, and b) having a panic attack, neither of which were true! To be fair, I often don't wheeze, which does make it a little harder for a lay person to diagnose. My mum had to come and pick me up from town, and she gave the policeman a bit of an ear-bashing!

Hope you get on better, anyway



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