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.


  • Asthma


    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

  • Hey,

    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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