What do you tough asthmatics wish people knew about asthma?

I have a blog, Atopical, and would like to do my first contributors' post on the subject of 'things you wish people knew about asthma/you know you're an asthmatic when...' (eg 'you know you're an asthmatic when..you walk into the pharmacy and they just get all your repeats without asking any questions) and was wondering if people would like to comment below with your contributions? :P

Future ideas for posts include such things as tips and tricks for the hospital, when to go to the ER, student finance with long-term conditions, and posts on attack severity and how each type is dealt with at home, GP surgery or hospital and what to expect.

Thanks in advance! Below is the link to my baby of a blog. There's not much yet but that's why I'm asking this :)


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22 Replies

  • I'm reminded of when me & my wife first got together, early 1980s & for the first few months she thought I always had a cold (my asthma wasn't controlled then) until one day she asked me why I was always coughing :)

    Apart from the obvious "I'm not being awkward, I just can't keep up with you" when I'm out with groups of people, probably my real big one would be animals.

    I get really fed up of people assuming that when I don't want to make a fuss of their dogs in the park or I chase the neighbourhood cats out of my garage that I'm not some brutal animal hater but really can't have them near me. I've come close to being punched more than once & been called all sorts of names for shooing away dogs! One time I remember a woman with a couple of kids making a really big song & dance about how they should 'stay away from the nasty man'...I was genuinely hurt by it but of course never got the opportunity to explain why I didn't want pooch climbing all over me.

  • That's awful! Silly woman! I guess people just aren't aware. My big one is e-cig vapour; from complete strangers on public transport, to good friends, to people I've just met, to people who hate my guts..I've had to tell so many people that I'm sorry but could they not use their e-cigs in the bus/train/car/locker room? *sigh* I've had a lot of stick for that too :/

    Or the looks we get when we are coughing and people think we are contagious!!

  • In fact, when I was last in hospital, for the first 12 hours I was in MAU and there was a very ill, very old lady across from me who was ultra p***ed off with me, complaining loudly and angrily that she shouldn't have to be in a room with me, that she would catch my 'infection'. One of the nurses explained to her that I have asthma and it wasn't contagious, to which the old lady replied "how do you know?!" haha

    She then went on to strop about how she was 'really ill'..the nurse said that I was also really ill as well...

    Luckily I was moved up to a ward shortly after, and the lady was very ill and illness does weird stuff to elderly people.

  • I've been nattering my daughter's partner to stop smoking for ages, and he just has. However he always used to smoke outside the house, now he puffs his puffer inside because he thinks it's OK...I haven't the heart to send him outside but I agere with you they are becoming ubiquitous & acceptable in all the places that cigarettes were banned from.

  • Gosh yes, I know. Everyone's like "oh they're safe it's fine"..but it really isn't!

  • oh yes i'm with you on the coughing thing! In 1997 (pre-smoking ban) I went away for a week on a coach trip with my church - about half of the people on the trip smoked ALL the time!!! I also unfortunately ended up sharing a room with a smoker!!!!

    Predictably by about 2-3 days in i was REALLY struggling, at dinnertime one day one of the women (who was a smoker!!!) barked at me "will you stop coughing!!!" sadly i didn't have the breath or energy to bark back at her with any kind of retort!

  • Hello Littlemissfaffalot last time I went to the opticians I asked that whoever checked my eyes did not wear any kind of perfume. It was a man, he said it was the first time a woman had specified no aftershave lol :-)

  • When I am talking to people who are wearing perfume I take a step back and explain your perfumes great but I have asthma and it is difficult to breathe. When I am invited into some people's home and they have pot pouri or other smellies it is difficult to say your home smells I cannot breathe.

    As for knowing I was an asthmatic, I went to the docs thinking I had a bit of a chest infection that was not clearing up, then things just went downhill, until 2 months later I was diagnosed with asthma

    Good luck with your studies you have chosen some brilliant but difficult subjects. Luckily my daughter's finished before the student fees were imposed, and one carried on to do her masters but had to pay the dreaded fees :-)

  • Thanks! They are great but difficult and very competitive. The whole uni finance thing is a learning curve for me, too; all I know so far is that I can claim free prescriptions for most of my first year (that is, until I stop being 18 in April 2017) under the same exemption category I'm currently under, and there's something about a form you can get filled to claim free for the whole of your course but I don't really know!

    Yes. I'm not affected by perfumes much or many scents but as I said above, e-cig vapour is a biiig one. I once had to tell someone I don't get on with at all that e-cigs set off my asthma, as he was sat next to me on the bus..he proceeded to laugh at me, and blow a cloud of the stuff in my face! I'm just so lucky that my asthma wasn't as bad then as it is now.

  • I had a problem in school once (I am a music teacher) and i was teaching piano to 2 teenage girls, one of them was wearing a deodorant / perfume that set my asthma off. At first i thought it might be coincidence but when it happened again in their lesson the next week i had to say something to them.

    It was fine, i just felt more embarrassed than anything cos i don't usually like letting the pupils know i've got asthma and if AT ALL possible i won't use my inhaler in front of them

  • What a total ❇❇❇❇ not just laughing but blowing the fifthly stuff in your face. Citizens advice or the asthma helpline might be able to help about charges. Good luck. :-)

  • Great idea with your blog! good luck!

    You know you're asthmatic when ...you're puffing away on your portable nebuliser as if it were an e-cigarette!

    (I have a little one which is not much bigger than an e-cigarette & when I use it out&labour with the mouthpiece I think people must assume that's what it is!)

    Not quite what you asked for but...

    You know you're asthma is not controlled when..... You have a pre-packed hospital bag just-in-case and it's not because you're heavily pregnancy!

    Things you wish people knew...

    I wish people would be aware that aerosols may affect asthmatics & check before spraying - when I was in hospital on the respiratory ward one of the patients next to me was sprayed with her aerosol body spray every morning & every morning it would make my chest tight. I would have brought it up but kept thinking I'd be let home that day, and she was usually washed before most of us had woken up in the mornings so there was no warning just before - but I imagine on a respiratory ward there must frequently be other patients it would effect so maybe nurses would be aware?

    I wish people would be aware how much a simple cold can affect an asthmatic and so be extra careful when they have one in terms of covering there mouth/nose & washing their hands when they have one/ warn you if you're about to meet up with them & they have one. (I've been hospitalised 4 times in the last year - all a result of viral colds/flu)

  • Haha I always have a hospital bag packed! I also have a small bag about the size of a camera bag in which there is a two-in-one body wash thing, hand sanitiser, packaway toothbrush, travel toothpaste, aspirin and some cash for vending machines. This goes with me everywhere and has those essentials one may need in hospital :P

    I get a bus home from college every day and sometimes there's a lady on there with one of those nebulisers! I thought it was an e-cig out of the corner of my eye but when I looked properly I recognised it as a nebber! I had to educate a few of my friends the first time round!

  • And yes, definitely. People try to drag themselves into college this time of year and sit next to you only to complain about "OMG I'm soooo ill" and I'm like, not as ill as I'll be if you give me that!

  • Lol I only popped on this forum after a few very challenging days and caught these posts. So gotta share...

    People with colds - thanks for sharing those, 3 or 4 days sick for them and 4 to six weeks for us guys, on the plus side I'm totally up to speed on the personal life of my local GP, great lady, managed to convince her that if I turn up to the docs office in a business suit for a nebuliser I really will pop over to A&E afterwards to properly stabilise

    Efficient use of A&E - on the off chance that you really can't defeat the doctors receptionist, usually because constructing a sentence is life threatening, then this is plan B. Pre packed bag totally with u, I include comfy sweat pants and tea in a flask and if I'm on my A game, entertainment. Once treated my record discharge times are down to 4 hours, i'ved learned to never move if the O2 machine is scheduled to take a reading when I'm ready to escape.

    Preemptive requests for enteric coated pregnislilone - enough said

    Keeping positive. I've cried a lot this month, I know it's the steroid, the frustration, the work cold martyrs that aren't malicious but none the less devastating to my health, and the thought that unless this stabilises I may actually be sober on NYE.

    But think of all those fun thing, a few days ago after 4 nebulisers I had a great laugh with the kidney stone lady next to me ( pethadine) when the exorcist turned up to A&E, poor girl was so unwell but who could've know a real human could make such sounds!

  • Brilliant XD I love your spark, you just made me smile when I didn't feel like it.

    Oh. My. Gosh. Yes. Enteric-coated Prednisolone might just be the best invention ever. Sadly I didn't ask for it this time around (currently on 3rd week of it) so I have to deal with the 'eurgh-gag-gag' factor of 8 tablets trying to dissolve in my mouth!

    I always have iPhone, charger, notepad, pen, coins for vending machine, deodorant, micropore tape, and s couple of other things in a little pouch :P

  • I wish people would realise that you can be gasping for breath one day yet with the help of steroids and antibiotics and inhalers be able to run up the stairs the next day. Got to say I can't do that much any more but I used to be able to and this actually happened to me.

  • You know you're an asthmatic when you walk into the surgery to pick up a repeat prescription for a non asthma medication in the first half of September and the receptionist asks if you have booked to have your flu jab done.

    What do I wish? I wish the public in general were more aware of just how serious asthma can be and that it kills three people in the UK every day.

  • Hi I work in a shop and we have room sprays and perfumes and I wish that the customers would warn me before spraying them into my face as they set my asthma off. If they could ask if I had smelt it or if I would like to I could explain. I don't even work in those departments but I am at a till point. Very frustrating. Good luck on your blog.

  • Thanks everyone :D your input is much appreciated :Zp

  • I totally get where you coming from! Think my whole school hated me as they had to ban aerosol spays in my school as not only does it set my asthma off big time i end up having an anaphylaxis allergic reaction to some of them too!! Would not be the first time i have been blue lighted from school because someone decided to spray something rather than open a window!!

  • my main asthma annoyance is the fact that one of my triggers is sprays like impulse, so I really struggle in changing rooms. But i have to go in there, because i cant exactly walk around in my pe kit all day. Its so annoying!

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