Anyone embarrassed about being asthmatic?

Hi I just wondered if any one else is embarrassed about having asthma because I have a real hang up about it and don't like anyone knowing I suffer from it and certainly won't use my inhaler in front of anyone. I have been the worst I have ever been the last few days and ended up in A&E after having an attack on thurs night. I spent several hours in A&E and had several nebs before they let me home. The thing is I stupidly went to work on fri and battled thriugh the day with out letting on to anyone that I wasn't well and am still suffering today. Anyone got any idvice or am I just being stupid?


23 Replies

  • Hi Smithy,

    Have you had asthma long? Can understand where you're coming from - I found it difficult to deal with at 1st, and even now still struggle into work when I should be at home (althouth they've learnt to tell the signs now and send me home!). I struggle into work when I shoudln't jsut to prove that I'm ok, even thoguh I'm not, and still sya i'm fine, even though I'm not, as if in some way that will make my asthma go away! It took me ages to not feel embarrassed about using my inhaler in front of people, but at the end of the day - it's there to help you and the consequences of not using it are far worse than people seeing you using it!!!! THe other thing is that more people have asthma these days, so I bet half the people you're worried about seeing you use an inhaler either have asthma or know someone who has it. All I can say is - just do it!

  • I don't think ur being stupid.......I think it's rather common to be embarassed about using ur inhaler in front of people.

    I remember being in a lesson once - it was DEAD QUIET and I needed my inhaler - the whole time I was thinking ""say it's break time....come on break time.....ahhhh wen's break time!!!""

    I think if I got particularly bad I would bite my embarrassment - easier than going to hospital isn't it?

    Hope ur feelin better :-)

    Shadz xxx

  • Thanx I have had it for 15yrs though this last year has been far worse ive had 2 attacks already this year and have never been in hospital with it before that. I just find it hard to deal with and hate people knowing I have it. No one at work knows and i look at it as though its a weekness because I have quite a physical job and have found in the past with people that know as soon as your slightly out of breath they are fussing around you asking if your ok all of the time and I'm perfectly fine. I just find it so frustrating


  • hi smithy

    sorry to hear your havin a tough time with your asthma at the mo.

    i also hate takin my inhaler at work specially since i've had 2 attacks this year where they've had to take me to a&e so even just seein my vent sends thems into panic at times, thus makin me very aware of whose around when i need to take it as to how they're likely to react!

    have u tried explainin to your colleagues about your asthma and givin them an idea of when it is they need to start fussin and gettin u help so that they don't jump at the slightest sign of breathlessness? and/or find somewhere where u are comfortable in goin to take your inhaler? my work has an office where no one is actually based where stationary is kept that i goto to take mine now.

    hope your asthma is soon back undercontrol

  • thanks for that scampy but I hate anyone at all knowing so Idon't tell anyone unless its absolutely necessary. Fortunately the only attacks i've had have been when I was at home and on leave so nobody has had to worry about me! If i need to use my inhaler then I usually just pop into the toilets which is sometimes difficult as I don't work in an office and am usually in the middle of a field somewhere! I'm just worried incase it does start to affect me at work coz this last week I've ended up in a&e twice after having an attack at home and I would be mortified if it happened to me at work


  • I am occasionaly embarassed. I don't like when people stare at me when I take my inhaler but at the same time I see no reason why I should be hiding it or going to the toilet every time I need it (to be honest I don't know what is more embarassing taking my inhaler in front of everyone or asking if I can go to the bathroom in the middle of the class lol). All my friends and colegues know that I am asthmatic but they don't make a big deal of it. I am more annoyed with total strangers staring or making stupid jokes.

  • I know that my teenaged son gets embarrassed sometimes because he always has to take his inhaler and a pocket full of kleenex with him. But what really angers him is that in all of the Hollywood movies and TV shows they portray asthmatics as nerdy, red-haired, overweight, unathletic people with a runny nose. While some asthmatics may be nerdy, some may have red hair, some may be overweight, some may be unathletic, and some may have a runny nose, it doesen’t mean that all asthmatics have ALL of these traits all of the time (lol). I know many people who have accomplished alot in their lives while living with asthma. And from what I have learned about all of you on this forum is that everyone of you should be proud of yourselves and not at all embarrassed for having to deal with such a life-altering disease.


  • The only part of it i get a bit embarrassed about is the attacks, when i have them at college, i try and get myself somewhere quiet and discrete away from people, unless its too serious and my friends wont let me.

  • Yes i do, Ive had an attack this afternoon while @ work, luckily my collegues know how i want to deal with the situation, but i hate taken my medication when others are around, & also i hate telling people they way im feeling. I was dizzy & felt strange, breathing wise. it was very hot in the room so they put the fans on me. & now im really tired, but feel really bad/embarrassed about it all i know i shouldnt as cant help it espically in this heat.


  • No, you're not being stupid, it seems to be fairly common for asthmatics to be embarrassed about taking medication in public

    i get embarressed, though usually i still take my inhaler 'cos if i don't i'll end up on a neb or having to get someone to phone for my parents/ help, which is more embarressing. I have refused an ambulance once at school, because i didn't want everyone gawping at me. I ended up missing two weeks of school and on large amounts of rescue steroids, so i learnt my lesson.

    As someone else said, the thing that embarrasses me is in most cartoons asthmatics a portrayed as nerds or freaks, and some people my age then take that as what asthmatics are. I got a report published by cbbc about my views on that a while ago. But, yes, i hate taking my inhaler in public and don't like telling people when i'm wheezy, partly also because i am afraid of them being impatient or making snide remarks.

    so no, you're not being stupid.

    hope you're ok

    Becca xxx

  • i used to feel bad using inhalers with people around but now i just use it and if peps look at me then so be it. I use a neb 4x a day and most of the time i have to use it when i'm away from home and thats worse that 2 puffs then put it back in ur bag. At work i have made a point of telling peps coz i find that when i having a bad day they are more likely to help me. Then i can have my break at a set time so i can neb do inhalers and every think.

    I know its hard i really dont like useing my i nhaler infront of the resedents at work coz it worrys them. But on my own floor a long know i have asthma coz with this hot weather i have been having probs.

    There are lots of people puffing away try not to hide away thats how people get silly idea. people who know u well should not think of u as being weak but be prode of what u have do.

  • hi,

    I was really embarrassed especially when i got to high school and would have to carry a nebuliser around with me. I'd hate it and try to hide having to take my inhaler when i needed to. Now i'm more of the mind that if people stare then its their problem, and can't be bothered with them. I have had some bad experiances in previous jobs but most are ok. and if all else fails remember that maybe asthmatics are the normal people and those without are the freaks. That was my favourite reply as a child to the question 'whats it like to be a freak?'

  • i only found out i had asthma about 8 weeks ago and yes i do find it embarrassing,i was in hospital for 3 weeks and for the first week and a half i couldnt get out of bed with out fainting,it feels strange having to have other people do thing for you that would normaly be no problem and embarrassing to!!!,i get scared to go out just in case i have an attack,its only asthma people say but what do they know unless it happens to them,hopefully the feeling wont last .if anybody gives you any good advise let me know!!

    take care

  • I am defiantly when in public, as everyone stares when you use your inhaler.

  • I am defiantly when in public, as everyone stares when you use your inhaler.

  • i used to get really embarrassed using my inhaler in public. But i have decided it is far more embarrassing to have to push past people to go and find a quiet spot to take your inhaler when you can't breathe and may also feel like passing out than it is to sit quietly where you are and take it straight away. i still don't like using a spacer in public though. however, at work, i still go and hide in the bathroom, if i can, to take my inhaler and use my spacer as well because i feel as if the boss is keeping an eye on hoe often i use it else and keeps fussing and wanting to send me down to casualty even when i am not that bad. (I work in a hospital, i case you wondered). the more you use your inhaler in public the quicker you get used to it.

  • I have to admit that I am completely at ease to neb whenever and where-ever I am, I guess I know the consiquences of not having a quick neb are far worse than the embarressement of splatting somewhere public. First Great Western let me sit in 1st class where I can hid away cos it tends not to be so busy and people are less likely to wandering by and spot me. I have also drawn up and changed my sub cut syringe on a train (after warning the train manager in case he thought I was a junkie jacking up) I have been accused of being using an eletric bong once before too :)

    If you need to use your inhaler use it, one day that delay whilst you find somewhere to hide may be the one time you can't wait.


  • Hi Yes I do get embarrassed.I try not to use my inhaler in front fo people if i can help it, Will try and find a quite place. However i will use if have to but end up covering inhaler.

    Don't worry your not being stupid.


  • Hi

    Im not embarrashed at all about being asthmatic, there are worse conditions and illnesses. I often use my neb at work and in public people are often curious and ask what im doing when im using the portable neb. I also have my inhaler in a puffa pouch round my neck, this way it's always there i don't have to spend two hours searching a handbag to find one. People often comment and ask where I got it as they know someone who would use it.

    Its more embarrassing being rushed to hospital in an ambulance than having a couple of puffs on an inhaler or having a neb.

    Truly x

  • Truly,

    I ahve a puffapouch too - think they're fab inventions and so much easier and more handy to carry your ventolin around!

  • not at all embarrassed and have no problem using my inhaler in public!! only time i was embarrassed was when it had no affect and i actually thought i was going to pass out in the middle of glasgow at 5pm on a wet cold winters night amongst everyone going home from work..actually ended up in casualty for 3 h ours that night and only got home because i managed to hit 350 in the peak flow and looked at the young female casualty officer with big sad mummy eyes lol

  • Getting there

    I'd say i'm getting there! I am still embarrassed about it as I feel i am 'weaker', I know this is really daft. I keep thinking that I would never think that of anyone else and no1 else thinks that of me. long have you been asthmatic? I never had it as a kid only the past 5yrs and only really the past 18months with it having a real impact on my life. I always put my embarrassment down to having never grown up with asthma and therefore I wasn't used to it. As time has gone on and also coming to realise that I can't afford not 2 not use my inhaler/neb in public I am finding it easier. I am no longer embarrassed about using my inhaler in public but still find it very hard to neb which does make my family/bf quite angry at times as often I end up in a bit of a mess which might have been prevented if I had just overcome my pride.

    I think acceptance plays a role in getting over the embarrassment...for a long time I denied that I really had asthma and that it was not a problem! Also, I might be wrong but I think stereotypically being male and doing manual work I can appreciate ure embarrassment. However, if u step back and think if it was one of ure collegues you wouldn't think anything differently of them. I am only 20 and feel embarrassment that I can't do as much as my friends etc. However, you will often find people are interested/intruiged and talking about it helps them understand and you relax.

    God I've waffled! Hope that makes sense.

    Em xx

  • Emily, that is a really good way of putting it - captures how I feel anyway. I think it is for sure about acceptance, or lack of. I hadnt managed to work it out for myself, but I'd been thinking about this topic, and I didnt feel embarassment quite got it, but I know I dont like people knowing about the asthma - and I think it is because I havent admitted to myself that it is now having an impact. But, I am getting better! I had lunch yesterday with a couple of friends and I didnt just come out with the usual platitudes about being fine, I told them that my asthma had been causing me problems. It was a really Big Thing for me to do, and I had to really make an effort, but it was actually nice, they were very supportive - and also offered practical help, which has taken a weight off my mind.

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