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yesterday at work I became very short of breath, started coughing, had a very tight chest and found it extremly difficult to talk. I walked up 6 fights of stairs to get to a office at my workplace, I did this because I am not to keen on the lifts in my college as on broke down the other week.

I took 10 puffs of my reliever and my asthma calmed back down, I was able to continue with my normal duties. I did feel quite tried afterwards.

I am really not keen on taking my inhaler in front of people so I went to a quite stairwell to my inhaler so I was not in sight of others.

Has anyone got any ideas of how I can overcome my fear of taking my inhaler in front of people?


10 Replies

I can sympithise with you, I hate taking my inhalers in front of people. I found out the hard way that it's definatley better to just take it than put it off and feel embarassed and reluctant to take it. I still get self concious and tend not to use my spacer unless I really need to or I'm with people I feel comfortable with.

It's difficult but I just had to teach myself to get on with it and if I need to take it, take it as ultimatley I've realised my health is more important.

Hope that's a little bit of help,

Zippi xxx


Sorry I can't really help as I also don't like using my inhaler in front of people. I will take it in front of my husband but no one else. If I'm at work I wait until my break when everyone has left the room. However, a couple of times I have been really bad at work and I have had to get someone to fetch the inhaler for me and just taken it in front of them - I would still wait until everyone had left the room if I could though (yes have been left on my own in the staffroom when having an asthma attack, not serious but still...)


Hi Rachel,

This is my very first post...but want to say that I was exactly the same when I was younger...and found that my health suffered because of it. Now, since the first time I did take it in front of others, it's become second nature. Don't give it a second thought now. My health is much more important. And I don't get any funny looks or questions, most folks know and understand.

Wish you luck.





Thank you for your replies.

I really do not know what it is about taking my inhaler in front of other people, but I think it is because I would hate for people to panic and for someone to call for help when I do not need it.

I am not scared of ambulance staff or ambulances but I am scared of having to stay in hospitals as I do not like wards and busy hospitals.

I have been to hospital by ambulance before for my asthma but I do not remember very much about my trip. The ambulance crew gave me a neb. Their was a time when I had a bad chest infection he which the said I should go to hospital but I refused and I stayed at home and took my own neb.

I wish I could overcome my fears but I do not know how to.



Hi Rachel

If you are concerned that people will panic then it is better to be open with them. If they know that using your inhaler is a perfectly normal part of your life they are less likely to react in the wrong way. I dont have a problem taking my inhaler in front of my colleagues at work and they dont take any notice. They know I would ask for help if I need it. I am more careful when working with people I dont know but even then, if I am having a day when I am likely to need my inhaler I will tell them that I might need to do this and to just ignore it.



using my inhaler in front of other people used to bother me when i was younger but lately i've just become more relaxed about it. I'm not sure what changed me but i guess i'm lucky that unless i'm ill (or been doing stupid things like 10k's / triathlons!!) my asthma is generally well controlled and i rarely need my inhaler.

That said though, i'm a teacher and would try to avoid at all costs using it in front of pupils. A few of my pupils know i'm asthmatic but mainly cos it's come up in conversation (in one of my groups there are only 6 children and 3 of them have inhalers)


I always used to be like that until one day the Paramedics were called my place of work and wheeled me through an open plan office in their wheelchair, I was so embarrassed at the time but it did eventually help to get over my issues of taking my inhalers in front of people



I know how you feel and I agree that your health can really suffer if you wait to long to take it.

I find it particularly hard because I have relatively severe asthma and it means that whenever I get my inhaler out my friends seem to think I am about to collapse, which can be really annoying!

I find turning away from people or moving to a more discrete spot in the room can help also explaining to colleagues and friends maybe....

Hope your feeling better



Weigh up the facts , how often does the lift breakdown? stair climbing can exhaust you. How many people use the stairwells too if you have lifts? Make sure someone knows your whereabouts. I used to go to the kitchen to use my inhalers. My colleagues would time me cos I collapsed too many times whilst going to the bathroom. I used to be afraid to get up without the eyes of others following me. But later I was glad because asthma got too unpredictable.



I understand how you feel, Rachel. I'm not keen on taking my inhaler in front of people either. I will if I really have to but generally try to wait if I can. I don't know why I feel self-conscious about it though. I think to begin with I was worried about people's reactions and being asked lots of questions when I was first diagnosed, but I'm not sure why I still worry now that it's been several months. When I figure it out, I'll let you know!


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