Worried about going to uni: Hi, My... - Asthma UK communi...

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Worried about going to uni


My asthma has always been mild, only ever needed a reliever inhaler for after exercise or when I have a cold, but a couple of months ago I came down with a chest infection which went on to pneumonia and caused me to have an asthma attack. This meant I had to stay in hospital for 4 days and have now been put on a fostair inhaler (two puffs, twice daily) and my asthma symptoms are slowly going back to normal. However, this shook me up a little bit and I started thinking about what if I get sick at uni? I'm going to be living quite far away from home (4 hours drive) and I'm just worried something similar might happen again. Does anyone have any advice?


10 Replies

Being worried is understandable, particularly when you've had a bad experience, but whatever you do, don't allow your asthma to hold you back. Your asthma may well be with you for life so you do need to learn to live with it. Remember that you will not be the only one at uni to have a chronic medical condition.

I went to university, so did my younger (asthmatic son). You will get registered with a doctor wherever you go so you won't be without medical help. When your place is confirmed (I'm assuming here that you have a conditional offer dependent on exam results) information should be sent through to you about medical contacts.

There are others on this forum who are currently studying away from home and hopefully they'll respond to your post as well. The one big piece of advice I gave to my son before he went was to ensure that he got the pneumonia jab. Hopefully you already get the annual flu jab, and this will still be available to you when you're at uni. If you haven't had the pneumonia jab, talk to your doctor about having it.

Good luck.


Thank you for your reply! If I hadn't been ill my asthma wouldn't have even crossed my mind when thinking about uni, just bad timing! When you register with a doctor at the uni does this mean you're no longer registered with your usual GP at home?


That was what happened with both myself and my son. You have to remember you will be spending more time away at uni than at home. But you needn't worry; when you return home during the holidays you register again with your GP as a temporary resident. So if you are unwell, or need a prescription you will be able to get one, though you may need an appointment with a doctor to get one. So some planning ahead may be required in case you have to wait a few days to see a doctor. But you can discuss that with your local surgery to find out what you need to do when you return home.

The one thing you will need to bear in mind is that in England you are not eligible for free prescriptions once you are over nineteen. I believe there is a system that can help out with this if you are a student (form HC1) but you might want to make enquiries about what the procedure is for this before you go to university, if they do not tell you when they send further information through. Or you can google 'Form HC1' to find out more. And again, there may be someone on this site who knows more about this.


Thank you so much for all your help! I'll have a look at the form, thanks for telling me about it!


I am currently staying away from home for uni and all I can say is try not to worry about it and if your asthma does flare up when away from home make sure you know where to get help from!

Unfortunately for myself I have had a pretty rough time recently with my asthma and have been admitted 4 times away from home but the staff and everyone are great and understand that your are away from home so will be even more scared or stressed than normal!

Hope uni goes well!


Thanks for your reply, it's nice hearing from someone who's experienced it! Gosh sounds like you've had a rough time, I hope it all gets sorted soon!


Yes go and enjoy yourself! Because you had pneumonia doesn't mean you will get it again. As has been said you will find a new doctor there so please don't worry. x


Hi! I went to university with really severe asthma and am now doing postgraduate work at university. As others have said, it is important to make sure you are registered with a local GP and you can just see your GP as a temporary patient when you are at home. Uni can also be a bit hectic, especially when you first start and you're doing lots of socialising and finding your feet. It's really important to keep doing all the things you would do at home - taking your inhalers and any other medication regularly, getting your flu jab, seeing your GP in good time if you feel ill. If you are seeing a consultant, you can also get transferred to the local hospital at university. Re: the prescription charges, if you aren't eligible for the HC1 exemption, you can also get a pre-payment prescription certificate, which caps costs. You can find more about help with health costs here: nhsbsa.nhs.uk/HelpWithHealt...

The other thing worth thinking about in advance is how you would manage if you did become ill enough to need to go into hospital, although hopefully this won't happen. I found that telling a few friends and people who lived in rooms nearby in halls about my asthma and explaining that it could be dangerous and what to do in an emergency was helpful. I also had a hospital bag that I would grab (including a stash of DVDs and my laptop) if I needed to go to hospital - but my asthma is severe enough that it happened very regularly, so this is probably not something you would need. Both the hospital, the uni and my friends were really good and understanding.

It's also worth looking into the Disabled Students Allowance, which can provide you with specialist equipment, a laptop to work from home if you are ill, voice recorder, taxis if you are too short of breath to walk and other things. I would also talk to the uni about your asthma and your needs e.g. my lectures in first year were scheduled in a hall on the twelfth floor, so I was allowed use of the lift, which was usually not available to students.

But overall, although it is completely natural to feel anxious about uni, especially with a health problem, it's worth knowing that you can have a fantastic experience in spite of your asthma - I certainly did. And it might be that you have very few problems with your asthma anyway. Hope you found that helpful - please feel free to PM me if you would like to chat!


Everyone has given you really good advice, not much I can add except to reassure you. I went to uni in the early 1980s, with severe asthma and coped ok. Always made sure I took my meds and carried ventolin everywhere. My 19yr old son is now at uni and he is doing fine. He is a severe asthmatic, worse than I was, and the uni has taken this into account. They gave him a large airy room on ground floor of hall residence and are letting him stay in it next year. When you fill in UCAS form there is a disability section which he filled in, so he is registered 'disabled' (although he doesn't like the 'label'). The uni Disability Officer has been great and keeps an eye on him.

On the whole he has been fine, just a few wheezy episodes. He has a stock of steroids but hasnt had to use them. He paces himself which I suggest you do. I was really worried about him going, but it has been ok. Good luck and enjoy the experience. xx


Ive experienced the same way after getting married. Ive been too anxious too.which I assume lead to chronic stress. Did you experienced some food intolerance after your medication from the hospital?


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