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Using my spacer/nebulizer at work

Hi guys,

I just started a new job about 6 weeks ago, and started asthma flaring about 3 weeks ago. I've been taking my inhalers with a spacer, because it's supposed to work like 70% better, but am shy about using it in front of others. However, I have to take two puffs of my rescue med, and two puffs of ipatropium too, and it's best to wait a few minutes in between each puff of course.

So I was wondering do you take your meds in front of co-workers? Or do you slink off to the bathroom like me? I guess I would hope I could use it all at my desk like I do at home, because I actually think I could get more done! You know, puff, and then type a bit, and puff again. I also have a portable, tiny neb. that I should take with me also, but I'm kind of self concious about it. It's a new job, and I am a bit funny about the whole thing. But mostly I find that when I take my inhaler in public it makes people nervous, and then they ask if I'm O.K., and of course if I'm taking it properly, I can't talk while I'm doing it for several seconds.

What do you guys do?


10 Replies

Hi Bee There,

I am the same when I start a new job and some people I am comfortable taking it after the first few times and others I feel self conscious. As my job is all over the building, if I can I take it as I am in a quiet area I will. I'm not so self conscious in front of strangers I will never see again. I always worry people at work will think I am attention seeking or a hypochondriac!

Jac xx


I know where you're both coming from - I've seen people ostentatiously using their inhalers in a way that invites concern and sympathy from others and I really don't want anyone to think that I'm doing the same. On the other hand, if I'm not breathing well I don't want to have to get up from my desk and slink off somewhere less comfortable so that I can use my inhaler.

Would it be worth talking to your colleagues about it? If they know that even when you're using your inhaler you're ok and will let them know if you're not you might feel more comfortable with it.


Hi Bee

I used to be just like you in that I'd hide away in the bathroom or the stairs that rarely get used so I could use my inhaler and spacer. It got to a point where I was being stupid though - I'd be feeling rubbish and make myself walk down the corridor so that I could use my inhalers!! Eventually I started to sit at my desk and use it. People looked and asked questions, but once I'd explained what it was and how it worked, they seemed satisified! People are just curious I think!! My colleagues always used to ask if I was ok after using my inhaler, but now they're so used to it that they don't really pay any attention to me anymore :) sometimes someone will ask if I'm ok, I'll say yes and that's that. I think being open about it all makes them feel happier too; they've seen me get quite poorly so it reassures them when I'm being open.

I'm not sure whether this suggestion would be viable for you, but my respiratory nurse specialist came to chat to my colleagues about asthma in general, treatments, what to do etc which has made everyone feel much better. I know my respiratory nurses will often do that sort of thing but I don't know if its something all respiratory nurses are willing to do, and it most definitely helped with my colleagues seeming to think that I was about to die if they caught sight of my inhaler!


thats why I like working with children...I take my inhaler infront of them all the time...they tell me its just like theirs or my brother has one like that...they are great. i won't neb infornt of them but will and have done infront of colleagues...I have no choice whilst waiting for ambulance! There are some who panic but my TA who is great knows exactly what to do and even knows how to set up a neb! I ahve always been very honest with colleagues and find most of them accepting. I would recommend finding some brave and take it when you need it where you need it. Easy for me to say.


Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for taking the time to post! I actually work in a heart clinic, so I would hope people would be kind of understanding if I could get them used to it. But sometimes I find medical settings are actually the worst, so I'm nervous about it.

I think the best bet might to be to use it at my desk when things are quiet, and if people happen to walk in, explain once I've taken my puff. It's crazy, but it isn't like I'm doing anything to be ashamed of. Just somehow it feels like I'm sharing something about myself that surprises people at least. Hmmm. I don't have an asthma nurse who can come in, but that's a great idea.



Yes children can be lovely, can't they? That is so nice. I bet it makes them feel better about having asthma too.


I know how you feel as I don't like telling my colleagues I'm not well. I can usually just use my inhaler in the classroom, but I've had to go home a couple of times and I really didn't like having to call for someone and tell them. I also worry that my colleagues think I'm making a fuss.


Inhalers at work

Hello everyone,

I am not confident about taking my reliver inhaler infront of people at work so I go and find somewhere quite to take my inhaler. I don't like people asking questions and asking if I am alright, some staff members panic!

The other week at work my asthma was playing up and I could not stop coughing and could not breath properly, one of the staff started to panic. I did not find this very helpful. She said she was going to call for help but I am not very keen on ambulances and hospitals so did not really want her to get help if needed.

But I would have know choice if my asthma attack had continued.



I think u gotta b open about ur asthma. Tell a few people so they know, if still not keen u don't have to take ur inhaler in front of them but If u start to take an attack then ur co workers can call help quicker rather than wondering wots wrong and wot they should do ... This may delay them calling for help


I dont use a spacer and am OK about using my inhaler with people who know me. One thing to bear in mind is that if you need to use your spacer/nebulizer then taking a few minutes out somewhere quiet might be more beneficial than doing this at your desk/workstation. Always assuming that you have that option of course, I know a lot of people dont.

I have found that being open with the people I work with regularly is best. They know I need my inhalers sometimes and generally dont take any notice when I use them. They occasionally ask if I am OK, especially when I am on the phone and obviously struggling a bit, but trust me to tell them if I ever needed their help. Perhaps you could let your colleagues know that you will need to take your meds from time to time but they dont need to do anything and you will ask for help should you ever need it.


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