This Country Is Ridiculous When It Come To Asthma

I am from Australia and have severe Asthma and need to carry a puffer with me where ever I go. Now what happens if I forget it at home or misplace it ... just like many people each day would do with their keys?

Well I would always just go up and buy a new one from the pharmacy, when I was back home in Aus, no prescription needed.

Coming to the UK I have had nothing but trouble, firstly figuring out when I first got here that I had to register with a doctor, then knowing that if that doctor was busy I can't go and see anyone else especially if you work far away (unless you want to sacrifice the whole day and go to a walk in centre), never the less the one doctor I was registered with was crap and the nurse then told me I should not take ventolin I should use the symbicort as a reliever... SYMBICORT SPECIFICALLY LABELS NOT NOT USE IT AS A RELIEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the near death experience NHS!!!

Basically as the sight says every 10 minutes someone has a potentially fatal asthma attack yet if I was required to go into a pharmacy to get a puffer to possibly save that persons life.... I can't nor I I knew one was coming on and I ran out or forgot it I could not get the life saving medication I need.

But hey thats alright cause if I want illegal drugs its heaps more accessible over here and at least they would probably even be polite and deliver it (I am not say I take drug I just pointing out the obvious)

9 Replies

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  • Please if I am being unreasonable let me know!

  • You can buy over the counter salbutamol inhalers from pharmacies in asda supermarkets. The pharmacy that deals with your prescriptions normally can issue you an emergency supply of a medication (if they so choose) and your GO should be willing to issue you with more than one reliever inhaler if you're having trouble remembering to always have it on you (I keep one in my handbag and one in the car).Maybe leave a note next to the door to remind you to check you have one on you? There are very valid reasons that people cannot just buy salbutamol anywhere, any prescription medication is a prescription medication for a reason, One key issue would be for severe asthmatics like yourself, potentially taking too much salbutamol and not geting it from the GP, and then having a severe attack because the warning signs were missed.

    I have never had to spend more than half an hour at a walk in clinic, and I have always been able to get a same day appt if i ring at 8am. If that is inconventient for you then doa bit of 'shopping around' for a GP practice that has a same day telephone triage nurse. This is what my 'university' practice does, and means i can ring at say 3pm on a friday and if i NEED to be seen that day, then they will get me an appointment. It can be very helpful as a nurse is more clinically informed than a receptionist to judge how ill I am (and will often squeeze me in if its important enough!). This might help you get GPs appts more easily if thats an issue you are having.

    Finally, yes. symbicort can be used as a reliever. If you're interested or finding your asthma difficult to control it might be worth asking about trying it. Its something called the ""symbicort smart"" regime and it works on the basis that the 'long acting reliever' in symbicort (formeterol) is sufficiently quick acting that it will work as a reliever, but by using symbicort instead of a reliever you have the added benefit that when you're going through periods where your asthma is worse and therefore you're using more of your inhaler, then you'll be also getting more steroid which would therefore help to control your asthma better hopefully leading to minimal use of steroids to get good control. It doesnt work for everyone, some people cant efficiently use turbohalers during an asthma attack, some people get more side effects from formeterol. but it works very well for some people (you can do a similar thing with an inhaler called fostair that has the sama LABA but a different steroid)

    I see the frustrations you have, and as i've never known a differnt system I'm used to what we do here, and it does work when you're used to it! lol! (If it helps at all: none of our spiders are gonna kill you!!)

    Know it might be frustrating but hope some of the above ideas help a little :-)

  • Soph, very nicely put.

    DShoots. We all have times when we're frustrated with the system. It could sometimes be easier. Or quicker. Or better managed. The list is endless. But it's never going to work for you if you want it to change to suit you. It won't. As a guest coming to this country with a chronic medical condition it would be reasonable if you were to find out in advance what you need to do to ensure that you have the care that you need while you are here rather than not bother and then get bent out of shape because it is different from the system you are used to. I am sorry that you have had a hard time getting used to it and I hope that things will get easier for you.

    I also hope that you will continue to use this site because it is a fantastic source of information and encouragement. But, we are British. Our natural setting is politeness. So if you want to get the best from regular users I would suggest that you refrain from statements like 'this country is ridiculous when it comes to asthma' as people you have offended are unlikely to want to take the time to help you.

    As an aside, I used symbicort as a reliever as well as a preventer for several years and have only stopped doing so because it wasn't helping me cope with a new trigger. Give it a chance and you might be pleasantly surprised.

  • Hello.

    I'm asmetic too had it since I was age 10 I'm now 36 and still got asthma I thought it have cleared up by now cause some of us grow out of it not me

    I just wondering is there any cure for asthma inhalers don't cure it they just prevent asthma attacks. I thought inhalers cure asthma they don't anyone know what the cure is called for asthma if not anyone can anyone come up with a cure like they did for cancer and eye sight.

    I'm sick of having asthma it's terrible in the uk for people not knowing what courses us to do that with our breathing etc and getting cures for it.

    I look forward to hearing from anyone.

    Thank you.

  • I am from Australia and have severe Asthma and need to carry a puffer with me where ever I go. Now what happens if I forget it at home or misplace it ... just like many people each day would do with their keys?

    Well I would always just go up and buy a new one from the pharmacy, when I was back home in Aus, no prescription needed.

    Coming to the UK I have had nothing but trouble, firstly figuring out when I first got here that I had to register with a doctor, then knowing that if that doctor was busy I can't go and see anyone else especially if you work far away (unless you want to sacrifice the whole day and go to a walk in centre), never the less the one doctor I was registered with was crap and the nurse then told me I should not take ventolin I should use the symbicort as a reliever... SYMBICORT SPECIFICALLY LABELS NOT NOT USE IT AS A RELIEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the near death experience NHS!!!

    Basically as the sight says every 10 minutes someone has a potentially fatal asthma attack yet if I was required to go into a pharmacy to get a puffer to possibly save that persons life.... I can't nor I I knew one was coming on and I ran out or forgot it I could not get the life saving medication I need.

    But hey thats alright cause if I want illegal drugs its heaps more accessible over here and at least they would probably even be polite and deliver it (I am not say I take drug I just pointing out the obvious)

    Attention Dshoots! The UK is ridiculous when it comes to anything, not just asthma. You say that since coming to the UK, you have had nothing but trouble. There are a few million troubled people in the UK who suffer from asthma, diabetes, obesity and umpteen other ills so you are not alone. We also have loads of souls suffering from poverty and hunger according to reports. However, we do have a massive police force ready and waiting to arrest anybody on suspicion of being in possession of ventolin, keys and tablets.

    Is Australia just as ridiculous?

  • Hi Sploshwatcher (great name by the way)

    You are not alone in being fed up with having asthma. So am I. I'm sick of carting inhalers about with me. I hate having to avoid The Body Shop, Boots and everywhere that sells scented bl***y candles. I want to be able to do my cleaning without reacting to the chemicals in the products that I use. I get deeply frustrated by my inability to walk at the same speed as other people. And I'm SOOOOOO fed up with the attitude of people who think that it's ""only"" asthma and I should get over it.

    Lets face it, there isn't a cure. We have to live with it as best we can and if you think about it, we're lucky to have medication that keeps us going and allows us to live pretty much normally. In the scheme of things, I'm pretty well off. I'm mobile, I can work and I can take my gorgeous grandchildren out for treats whenever I like. The plusses definitely outweigh the minuses and I can live with the inhalers and all the rest of the rubbish that goes with asthma because the alternative might be not living.

    Mind you, a rant now and then makes you feel so much better, doesn't it?

    Chin up, Sploshwatcher, we might not have a cure but we do, most of the time, have control. We aren't on our own with it, we have a lot of support and encouragement from the forum here, and huge amounts of information and medical knowledge available via the helpline. We've got to live with it and for me the only way to do that is to stick a big smile on my face and get on with it (and come here for a bit of a moan every now and then).

    If your post was just a bit of a rant, I hope you are feeling better for it. But if you feel really depressed you might need to talk to your GP.

    Keep well.

  • Yeah it's sometimes completely frustrating dealing with new medical systems and bureaucracies, even when moving from developed country to developed country, and both use English as the main language. It can add a lot of stress. Everything is more effort. I had similar issues in NL, and was frustrated by the prescription 1 inhaler thing because i had to carry it all the time to work and back, in the end it ran out and i didn't know and had no idea what to do because it was 4am on a saturday night - managed to work it out etc emergency prescription at pharmacist and sort it but was a total hassle. But of course easy if you understand the language and system. After that, I stocked up in Thailand and Cambodia for a few dollars a piece - and they were legit. Before ending up back at doctor for something stronger after it became uncontrolled...oh well !

    Good luck !

  • Most general practitioners and A and E doctors prefer to tell you oh it is anxiety not asthma. Go away and quit wasting our time. Perhaps asthma researchers should do a study into how asthma can be found by a biopsy or a mucus sample that way there is a solid medical test to diagnose asthma. The peak flow does not work for all asthmatics.

    Many asthmatics get told they aare fake at some point regardless if it true or not. If you have asthma you have to fight to breathe and to be believed!!!

  • Yes this country is ridiculous in the way it deals with asthmatics and the supply of inhalers. I grew up in Perth WA and got quite used to being able to buy a ventolin over the counter, unfortunately in the UK we have NICE which seems to treat asthmatics as imbeciles who are incapable of monitoring and managing their own condition. In the UK you can eat yourself to death and drink yourself to death, you can even buy enough paracetamol in one go to destroy your liver but........ventolin, that's a dangerous drug that needs controlling.

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