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Bit of a daft question about work

For some reason I've developed a daft dislike of using my inhaler at work. At my previous school I used to manage to take it quietly when there was no one around - wouldn't use it during lessons but could take it at breaktimes and if I needed it more than that wouldn't have been fit to stay at work anyway.

At my new school there are children in my room at lunchtime and wherever I stand in my room if someone walked past the door they would see me. I would feel ridiculous taking my inhaler somewhere like the toilet or my car to use.

If it was really getting serious I would just use the inhaler anyway, but I'm aware that it's stupid to leave it until it gets really bad. I also know that it will make my breathing worse if I ignore symptoms and allow them to continue, but just don't seem to be able to get past this fear of people seeing me using my inhaler. It isn't because I'm ashamed of being asthmatic as I think most people at work know that and I have spoken openly about it previously.

Any suggestions about how I can get past this?

Also I seem to be going through an annoying patch where I'm waking up 2-3 times a week during the night, but otherwise symptoms aren't that bad and are variable - some days ventolin several times a day but some days not at all. I know that if I saw my asthma nurse he would probably give me pred, but I really don't want it unless I need it and I'm not going downhill at the moment, more hovering around the line of controlled/not controlled.

However, I'm finding the tiredness tricky and worrying about whether I'm coming down with something or going to deteriorate is bothering me. Unsure why as I've been much worse than this and dealt with it but not sure what I can do about it.

My great GP isn't around at the moment otherwise I would go and see her for a chat about options, but don't think I can face trying to explain things to a different doctor for them to either say increase preventer or give me pred.

Sorry for long post, obviously needed to get that off my chest!

10 Replies


I too am not keen on taking my inhaler at work and normally goto the loo or the locker room to take it. However, when I'm coughing and wheexing there is no real denying things so don't quite understand why I take my reliever in secret; I think its something to do with not letting anyone see my struggle or anything! Sounds Odd, I know!

However, having been ill with an exacerbation this week I can now see that some of the signs were there that I was losing control. (using more reliever, decreased exercise tolerance, more coughing, night time waking and a falling peak flow)I think there is an element of under treatment, but also I am wishing now that I got/demanded help sooner and maybe wouldn't have got as bad as I did!

I've missed quite a few enjoyable activities this week due to being ill and would now much rather be managed on more treatment and not miss out.

Don't delay getting seen and having your treatment optimised.


The second type of reliever inhaler is longer acting and keeps the airways open for about twelve hours. It is taken at regular times, usually in the morning and at night, and is marketed as Oxis, Serevent and Spireva.

would one of these longer lasting inhalers help?

you could use it before entering school and it woud last you all day


Thanks for the thought Joan, but I'm already taking Seretide 2 puffs morning and evening.


Have just checked surgery website and found that they have changed their appointment policy to pre-booked appointments. I really liked the previous mostly same-day booking policy, because it meant that you could always get to see a doctor as soon as you knew you needed to, rather than having to guess a week in advance when you might need to go/wait a week. It would be impossible for me to get a same-day appointment under the current policy, as I'm working at the time you need to ring and my OH usually makes the appointment for me. I doubt they will accept ringing him to triage me and see whether I need an appointment that day.

Also my GP knows there is special reason why I may need to see her, and tells me I must do so if I need to, which I would not feel comfortable explaining to a triage nurse.

Found out that the asthma nurse has changed as well, and am not happy seeing the locum covering for my GP - so am a bit stuck about what to do if I do decide I need to see someone. I used to appreciate the lack of anxiety involved in seeing my GP so much, so am a bit disappointed about these changes.



I used to feel the same until my asthma got to the point where I had no choice in the matter! I'm not sure why we feel like this as I doubt taking a paracetamol for a headache would be such an issue. If you can bring yourself to use your inhaler in front of people I do think that it could be more of a positive thing than you think. The children at your school may also be finding it difficult too and seeing an adult freely using theirs should encourage kids to feel less inhibited. Hope you feel better soon.


Hi, It's funny you should post about this, because I was thinking about the whole using my inhaler/neb. at work too this week. I've been quite sick. I live in the U.S., and we just had a major hurricane in the Northeast. Well, that was it for my mold allergy!

Anyways, I'm very self concious about taking inhalers, using my spacer, or neb. in front of others. Then the hurricane happened, and I went into work, and everything was on a back-up generator. So it was like ""use my spacer or bust."" LOL. I think I just wanted to breathe.

Then I've had to use my neb. at regular intervals all week at work. This is a newish job, so was stressed out about it, but my supervisor has been very nice about it actually, and she helped me find a space to use the neb., and then I just take about 20 min. to do paperwork while I'm using it.

Then when I came home from work last night, I was upset, because one of my closest friends was over and she started laughing at me while I was using the neb. I'm not sure what that was about, but like you said, I'm self-concious anyways, and I was thinking I've been using this thing all week at work, and here is my closest friend being completely insensitive!

I'm with you on the bathroom thing though. I used to go to the bathroom to take my inhalers, but I have to take quite a lot of puffs, and really I much rather sit at a quite space at my desk, as if nothing else there are less fumes and it is cleaner!



Spookymilo I feel for you I truly do.

Have you ever thought about organising an event like Asthma Awareness week for the kids or something? It could be fun, and educational. Get students and teachers (yes you) to share asthma experiences and also do classes on onset recognition etc, what to do, how to get help.

While you're on the subject of asthma and feel like you need to use your reliever build it into the lesson as a 'demonstration'

BeeThere - I'd dump that close friend off and find a new one


BeeThere - I'd dump that close friend off and find a new one

Yeah, I know, right? She's usually O.K., but I think she's going through a rough time right now and she's just been off. I've been working on getting out more myself and branching out. Thanks for the comment though :).

Spookymilo, I like that idea of asking a few co-workers you trust. That way you can feel out how it will go, and can still keep things more private too.



I've been feeling so silly about this, I think I'm going to just bite the bullet and ask a couple of colleagues I trust whether I can use their offices. If I make myself take it in front of them then maybe next time I won't be so worried about doing it. I might be able to extend it to other people after a while.


hello, I also work with children, and I hate taking my inhaler infront of anyone especially the children, I usually hide in the cupboard where i keep my spare inhaler or go to the toilet! I don't like being watched and I always feel really self consious. I don't even like taking my inhaler in front of my family!

In fact the only time I take my inhaler in front of people at work is when i'm really struggling aswell!



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