Asthma UK community forum


Just having a moan, peoples attiudes to asthma are so annoying, i was in work yesterday and need to go in to a very small room to collect surplies, my manager uses this room as a office,and insisted on spraying aerosole airfresher, i have mentioned this several times , but it continues , i have now changed from blue to a brown inhaler twice a day as am feeling much better, and trying to avoid any triggers as much as possible, but breathing in this makes me cough so much. I know i cant avoid everything but , was told yesterday to (not breathe) by my manager, i dont want to made to feel special but as a manager i think thats disgusting, my mains triggers seem to be chemicals and aerosoles, am i being unreasonable x

4 Replies

Hi Rocky

I'm sorry you're having such a bad time at work and I don't think you're being unreasonable at all, but I do think it's another case of the 'invisibility factor'. You're walking about quite normally and people who don't have asthma can't get their heads round the fact that you can go from being ok to being dreadfully ill in the space of a minute or two, because they can't see anything wrong.

If your manager is approachable maybe you could print some information about asthma and the way that triggers work and then ask him for a chat, give him the information and explain that every time you go into the room he's sprayed with aerosol air freshener you are putting yourself in harm's way in exactly the same way as if you went and stood in the fast lane of the M1. If you can't talk to him perhaps you could give him the same information with a written explanation. Once you've made him aware of the situation he should stop sending you there or stop spraying the air freshener. If he doesn't you can then go to your HR department and make a formal complaint.

I wish you well with this.



Hi Rocky, I know how you feel. When I first started work in the early 80s I worked along side a colleague (also my line manager) who smoked. I told him I had asthma and he said 'tough'. Needless to say I had a major attack and was in hospital for a week and off work for 6 weeks. When I went back I asked him again if he would mind not smoking and he told me to get lost!

I eventually got another job and was very pleased when the new boss told me he hoped I didnt mind but they had a non smoking policy - it wasnt statutory but he hoped I'd comply... I nearly cried with relief.


No, you're not being unreasonable at all.

If someone had a peanut allergy, would your manager rub peanut butter over their desk? Or a cat allergy, and they replace the chair with a cat-fur cover?!

I know I'm being tongue-in-cheek, but they are (vague) equivalents, but some people don't seem to see their behaviour as problematic.

Do you have an HR department? If so, it's worth talking to them. If your manager keeps using aerosols & triggers your asthma, ultimately it might reflect in you taking time off sick, which could have been avoided. If HR know what's going on, they can have a word with your manager to make sure the working environment is safe for you to work in.

Best wishes


I would suggest you have a conversation or your union rep does with the manager or there manager better still that under the Health & Safety act both you and your employer is oblidged to comply with the act and look after there own and other peoples safety.

The use of aerosole air fresheners puts your health at risk and also your safety as this can trigger an asthma attack. If you have an accident while having an asthma attack such as fall/slip/trip trying to get to your inhaler or god forbid died because of the attack & or the abscence is more than 3 days your manager will have to complete a RIDDOR accident with the HSE see link. I would point out you wish to avoid having an asthma attack & have spoken with the manager it is a resonable adjustment to your work place.


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