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Just curious...

What reactions have people here had from the general public if you've had an obvious/severe asthma attack?

I was on the train today having decided it would be really sensible to run the last few stairs to get on the train currently in rather than wait 30 minutes for the next one (and my asthma's not good at the moment anyway) and unsurprisingly it brought on quite a nasty attack. I had to use my large volume spacer and inhaler with multiple puffs and was still struggling even with this (I'm OK now, resting, just keeping a close eye on things).

The thing is, the train was about 3/4 full, and suddenly everyone became very engrossed in their newspapers and the person sat opposite me even turned away. Now I know this is London and the 'rule' to London transport is that you don't talk to or look at anyone, but are these the sorts of reactions most people get? I'm just glad I was able to get enough control to get myself home as I'm really not sure anyone would have helped if things had got really serious :(

4 Replies

Last November coming back from london, trains up creek so packed to the gunnels, I lept on and ended up sitting on floor using inhaler, someone did ask If ok but I had to get to my feet in the end and ask for a seat to use my neb..... no one really bothered to ask after that!

For all I care, I could have gone of big time and ended up delaying the train.

I survived and managed to crawl off at the other end and get the bus home.

Yes, I think is is LOndon syndrome!

Oh and once on the undergrund train to the Allergy show, some ?? nurses also on route commented on the fact that, ""Inhalers are all the fashion these days"" when I was using mine..... I hoped they learnt the truth at the allergy show!!! I do not regard my inhaler as a fashion accessory!


Maybe people just didnt want to look like they were interfering or were scared by it, or maybe it is just London. I live in Manchester and people have helped me when I've gone off in public so I'm not sure. Although once my sister had a fit, a really bad one, and nobody bothered about that, even though she was going blue and frothing, guess people just dont want to flap or make it worse and dont know what to do.

This is slightly unrelated, but I did once ask someone on the tube if the book they had in their hand (they weren't reading it, so I didn't feel like I was disturbing him) was any good, and he just looked at me and looked away, so it could be people who use public transport in London!

Glad you're ok



Hi Ratty

What you experienced is a big part of the way people in London are unfortunately - I went off big time and had to neb sat outside a cinema at midnight (in London, there were people around coming out the cinema) and no-one even looked at me. Luckily I had a friend with me, but if I had been on my own who knows what may have happened...

It has been well documented in psychology that people disperse responsibility, thinking that others will help so they don't bother - if any of you are at all interested in psychology, I think there was a study by Piliavin, Rodin and Piliavin that demonstrated this on a busy train (I may be wrong, my psych is rusty!) whereby no-one helped because they thought someone else would.

I'm just dreading the day when I'm alone on a busy Tube and I have an attack. It's bound to happen, and I don't feel safe knowing that people look the other way.


I guess im very lucky then, i've never had anything but people going out of there way to help me. I tried to run for a train and once on it went off big time, i really was trying to be as quiet as i could but it obvioudly wasn't very. Anyway as lovely as my friend was she didn't have a clue what to do and about 6 or 7 people got up and came over straight away before one pulled the emergency cord (which was very embarassing). The guards were great and rushed over and sat with me until the ambulance arrived. It was nice knowing people you don't know can be so kind and go out of their way, though it doesn't look like that in most places. On another occassion i was shopping and just remember that horrible feeling before a fit and thinking 'im stuffed'. But when i groggily came round in an ambulance some lady was there holding my hand and apparently she had been talking to me and holding my hand throughout, she even waited with me at hospital until my mum arrived. Needless to say we soon tracked her down and bombarded her with chocolates and wine! So i guess im quite lucky really!


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