Asthma UK community forum
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Hi - i'm a newby

I'd like to say hello to everyone. I've been reading these boards for a couple of years now since being diagnosed with adult onset asthma just before I turned 40, but been too shy to post. I have mild asthma and, touch wood, never had any serious problems. Exercise, colds and stress can cause me minor problems, but nothing that can't be sorted out with a couple of puffs of ventolin. I've found the boards really interesting and informative. I was so glad to read a while back that I wasn't the only one too shy to use my puffa in front of folk :)

Anyway, just wanted to say hello as I was beginning to feel like an intruder listening in to other peoples conversations :)

9 Replies

Hi Olivia,

Sorry to hear that you've been diagnosed with adult onset asthma, although I'm glad that it's not causing you too many problems. Congratulations for getting up the courage to introduce yourself - I think most of us lurked for a while before posting for the first time, I know I did!

I do think it's important for people who don't have too many problems with their asthma to post occasionally, if they feel they can - because this board naturally draws a disproportionate number of people with severe/difficult asthma, I often think that it must appear, to a newbie reading for the first time, that all asthma is horrendously difficult to control, which is very much not the case, of course!

I hope you continue to experience good control, and if you have any questions that you think we might be able to help with, please feel free to ask.

Take care

Em H


Hi, just wanted 2 say that I'm a newbie here 2. I've only spent a couple of minutes browsing the posts. I'm a student nurse and was diagnosed with mild-moderate asthma during my placement holiday in December 2004, I was 23 at the time and it started out with a cold turned chest infection that wouldn't go away with the help of anti-biotics. However the doctor also prescribed me a ventolin inhaler to use which helped a lot. I went back 4 a check up 2 weeks l8tr and he did a repeat assessment which included a peak flow reading, his findings indicated asthma. When the chest infection cleared I still felt breathless from time 2 time so I went back 2 visit my GP and practice nurse several times. It took a long time to find out which preventative medicine would be most suitable for me to use. During September 2005 I had my first attack and would u beleive it right in the middle of a body combat class! So off 2 A&E in an ambulance (i'm not in a hurry to do that again!) and back to the GP again after the weekend. After which time my medication was again reveiwed and my preventer inhaler changed to a combination of a long acting reliever and steroid and an easi-breathe reliever inhaler. I was also shy about using my puffers at home and at work let alone in public especially as I deal with a lot of patients. In fact b4 my attack in Sept '05 I remember having 2 go into a seperate cubicle to take my releiver inhaler while on A&E placement. I think that this was because I had a fear of being stereotyped at the time. However I've learned to recognise my triggers which are quite similar 2 yours except that ciggarette smoke tends 2 affect me and I get the occassional episode of chest tightness (and sometimes tightness in my throat aswell) when I go to cat shows. I've learned 2 overcome the fear of stereotyping (even though I used 2 hide myself when I took my puffer at work, I would get the occassional look from passers by in the street), but hey I take my inhaler now b4 I come into contact with my triggers in front of others, I have no choice. Don't worry about intruding, I usually end up evesdropping myself sometimes.


I guess so far I have been lucky in that I have been able to escape somewhere quiet to use my inhaler. I wish I could pluck up courage to use it straight away no matter where I am. I have a very good friend who is also asthmatic and happily uses hers no matter where she is so feel I should be able to use in front of her at least, but hey maybe I'll get there one day. When my doctor asked to check my inhaler technic some time ago I even found myself saying ""ok, but don't watch""!! Luckily she knows me well and saw the funny side. I really can't understand why I am like this, but at least I know i'm not the only one :) I guess because my attacks have only been mild, its been easy for me to go somewhere to deal with it. I'm sure if I ever had a nasty attack, sense would kick in and I'd just use it. Smoke effects me too, but luckily I only one friend who smokes and she never smokes around me now. I have two gorgeous cats and I am fine around them, but sometimes find other peoples cats can effect me. Some wines can leave me breathless too but have so far not pinpointed which ones they are. Mind you, I am quite happy to keep researching that one ;) I worry that my children (18 & 20) will go on to develop asthma as my mum had it late in life too. I guess time will tell as they say.


welcome. don't worry about evesdropping on other posts i've been around about year now and still do it as find its best source of info and everyone is really happy to try and answer any questions u have. welcome to u both again.


Hi olivia

I too hate taking my inhaler in front of people I seem to get embarrassed. I play alot of sport and once your team mates or coach know your asthmatic they ask everytime your slightly out of breath if your ok make a big fuss. My coach does it to me all the time then everyone turns around and stares and I hate that so I'm one of the daft ones that would rather struggle on without taking it infront of people unless I'm on the verge of having a bad attack or can go somewhere out of the way. I know it sounds stupid to some people but I know I'm not the only one that does it!



Hi EmilyH, Animefan1, Katherine and Danni

Thank you so much for taking time out to reply to me. I shall look forward to joining in now and again and knowing I have somewhere to come and ask questions :)


It does get easier using the inhaler in front of people although I don't think the self-consciousness ever quite goes away! Necessity is the mother of invention, though, and I think folks are right that if you are having a nasty attack you just tend to get on with it and not think about it so much. I think knowing exactly where your inhaler is and how to use it with good technique helps as well, as it seems to make everything so much more fuss-free and means that once you get practised at it you can just whip it out and use it and put it away again before anyone has even really realised what is going on.

In terms of other people fussing and asking if you're alright - I find that just saying politely but firmly that you are okay, they don't need to worry, and you will be sure to let them know if you are having problems usually works fairly well. Most of the people you hang around with regularly will quickly get the idea and get used to the new you with asthma - remember it's a process of adaptation for them as well as you!

I am reasonably good about using treatment in front of people these days - as I say, it becomes a matter of necessity - and although I dislike making a fuss, delaying taking treatment when you need it usually results in more of a fuss if things deteriorate (learnt that one the hard way unfortunately!).

I do have one funny story: I was in my local shopping centre about 18 months ago, at a point when my asthma was not brilliant but I was able to walk about a little. An attack struck when I was some way away from the toilets or one of the coffee shops which usually have good corners where I can hide and neb. The benchs in this particular shopping centre are also right in the middle of the walkway, rather than set against the wall, so I really couldn't have been more conspicuous.

Ah well, nothing to be done to help it - I got out my little Omron (the U1 not the very little Microair) and started to neb. To the newbies who are perhaps not familiar with the treatment - it's a much stronger version of the salbutamol inhaler which a few people with severe asthma have at home - the Omron U1 is about 20cm by 6cm by 3cm in size, battery powered, fairly quiet but does emit quite a lot of impressive-looking and rather obvious vapour. Anyway, I sat there nebbing and caught the attention of a few people - mostly kids, which I don't mind, because they are just naturally curious, but also one rather older woman who just couldn't take her eyes off me, despite me giving her rather a glare through the vapour. She was going up the escalator in the middle of the shopping centre, and was craning round to stare at me so much that she didn't notice that she had got to the top of the escalator, got caught at the top and fell over, causing a small pile-up to develop on top of her. She immediately became far more of a centre of attention than I had been! (Don't worry, no-one was hurt!) It did make me laugh, as I couldn't help thinking it served her right!

Generally, though, you do get used to it, I think... and I try and rationalise it by thinking I am doing my bit for asthma awareness by nebbing and so on in public!

Take care all

Em H


I too, am dead afraid to use my inhaler in public. I just go and hide somewhere when people cant see me. In PE and at practice though, I'd always have to tell my coach, because i couldnt leave practice just like that, and then the coach would get worried and send someone with me. I also have a tendency to get really angry if im having an attack, I dont know why. But i start talking to the people that are trying to help me with a very agry voice (if i can), and then i feel really bad afterwards. Luckily i do have one friend who is asthmatic and understands, so whenever he is around i just bring him with me. He is to good help, but he too worries. I guess thats what friends are for :) Although, I have had asthma for 6-7 years now, but it has still not gotten easier for me to use my inhaler in public, if anything, it has gotten harder. I think its just the age (im 18).


Hi everyone

Thanks for all your replies and making me feel so welcome.

Well, after saying that my mild asthma doesn't give me much bother I'm now on a 5 day course of pred and a weeks supply of antibiotics for a chest infection! My husband says its been like sleeping in the middle of a farm yard this weekend with all the wheezes, whistles and rattling noises I've been making at night! Hope they all kick in soon as am feeling rather sleep deprived now. Not sure where i've picked the infection up or whether it is a knock on effect after the sudden death of my dad a few weeks ago!

Anyway, look forward to joining in with everyone now.

Olivia x


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