Going Back to Work in a Nursery - Asthma UK communi...

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Going Back to Work in a Nursery


Hi! So I was just wondering if anyone had any advice on returning to work at the moment, with having asthma? I work in a nursery, and I've been furloughed since the end of March (it took a lot of persuading to my boss, she immediately furloughed everyone with children and everyone else with underlying conditions, but still expected me to work, and the GP receptionist was less than helpful when I tried to contact them for help/advice)... my boss is now expecting me to return to work in 2 weeks when we reopen fully, and I wondered if there was anyone else in this situation working without any form of social distancing? It looked like I could have had the shielding letter, especially as I have another genetic condition, but then things became unclear so I never actually received one, although I have been shielding anyway... my asthma is currently starting to slide, as I suffer severely from hay fever which has been awful these past couple of months... even sitting in the garden is becoming impossible without ventolin, let alone simple things like walking my dogs, and my peak flow that normally sits around 500 is rarely getting above 450/460, so obviously I'm very worried about the risk of going back to work... just wondered if anyone had any tips or advice on how they manage this? Thanks X

19 Replies

I am not 100% sure on this, but, my neighbour thought she had been missed off the list. (She has cancer.) She was told to register herself on the extremely vulnerable page on the government website. I thought this was just for food boxes. Anyway, about 2 weeks later she got a letter. It might have just been coincidence, I don’t know. But it might be worth looking into.

Nicki-Lou123 in reply to Troilus

Ahh thank you for that! I had heard about being able to sign yourself up, but I too assumed this was to access the help with food (I am so lucky my Dad has been able to do all the shopping for me)... might look in to that! I'm also wondering if I should try the Drs again... but when I called before the receptionist wouldn't let me speak to anyone and told me that it was down to me and my boss! Thanks for replying x

Troilus in reply to Nicki-Lou123

I think it is a good idea to contact your doctor. It would be a lot easier for him to do it. As far as the receptionist goes, she does not need to know the detail. Just ask for a telephone appointment and if she asks what it is for, just tell her asthma. If she wants more detail, tell her you are experiencing more breathlessness than usual.

I would hope that he can find some way to put you on the list. If he cannot, because of the criteria, maybe he would give you a letter to say that it is not safe for you to return? The government guidance says something to the effect of ...return to work if it is safe to do so.

At the very least he should offer you advice.

Nicki-Lou123 in reply to Troilus

Thank you... I think I will phone them in the morning, my peak flow is only just in the normal range and been using ventolin more because of my hay fever, so could probably do with asking about upping or changing my preventer anyway so should be able to speak to someone... thank you for your advice x

i registered as vulnerable on the site as well. you can just tick the boxes saying you don't need food and that you don't have a shielding letter.

ive read somewhere that those who have registered as vulnerable have been passed to the gps who then make the decision as to whether you need a letter.

so register asap.

I had two shielding letters, one from NHS England and one from the hospital, signed by the “Clinical Lead for Respiratory Medicine”. The letters are identical but the NHS one came weeks before the hospital’s. It sounds as if you’ve slipped through the net, maybe you could phone your consultant’s secretary and ask them to send it

Nicki-Lou123 in reply to Hanne62

Thanks! I don't have a consultant specifically for my asthma, it's my asthma nurse I see at the GPs, but I do have one for another genetic condition I have, I guess it might be worth seeing if I could get hold of him again, the guidence on that condition is very vague and depends on all sorts of different factors x

The guidance for shielding letters is steroid inhaler PLUS another preventer medication (these 2 could be combined in a combination inhaler) PLUS continuous or frequent courses of oral steroids (4 courses within 6 months). It's entirely possible you would not be in the shielding group (most people with asthma won't be) but as others have said you can register yourself on the government thing. GPs are then asked to authorise this or not, depending on need.

If your peak flow is 450, that's still 90% of what it should be, which is good and (I think) normal as there will be some natural variation. I thought 70% would normally be the green/yellow border but peak flow experts can correct me if I'm wrong!

I assume you're taking antihistamines and things like nasal sprays for your hayfever? It sounds like this is a big trigger for you, so when you speak to your asthma nurse (which I think is a really good idea), it might be worth asking if you can do or take anything else in that respect.

Thank you :) I’m not entirely sure on the percentages thing with the peak flow, I just go by my asthma plan which says that 440 and below, and/or any symptoms, or needing Ventolin 3x a week, is my yellow zone... I do normally get a bit of variation, usually if I’m controlled it’s between 510 and 530, it doesn’t change seem to drop any lower when I’m controlled, these past couple of months it’s been bouncing anywhere between 500 and 450, and it’s been on 450/460 the past week or so... I only got officially diagnosed 2 years ago so I still have so much to learn about it, which is why I find forums like this so helpful!

I am, yes, I’m on prescribed antihistamines and a strong steroid nasal spray, I also use things like nasal rinses, eye drops and occasionally short term decongestants to try and help...

Thank you for your reply and advice X

Ah that makes sense then, I was going with 500 but 530 would make more sense with why it's only just in green. Also sounds like you have a really sensible plan if that's at all reassuring!

Glad you're on the meds and nasal rinses too - I find these really helpful, not only for hayfever symptoms but generally for my asthma.

It does sound like trying to speak to your asthma nurse would be a good idea - partly then you can discuss work but partly because while it's not been horrendous (as in suddenly), it's been niggling for a while and advice now might stop it in its tracks. If you get told no appointments with her, is there a good GP you could speak to? If nothing else they might be able to bypass the system and get the AN to call you.

Hope you get through though because it's bad enough having these niggles without having to battle for support from the right people!

Thank you so much! Yes one of the big reassurances when I got diagnosed was how hot my asthma nurse was on doing my asthma plan, gave me a bit more confidence on how to deal with it all..

Thank you! Yes, exactly what I was thinking would be sensible about stopping it in it’s track before it becomes an even bigger issue, will try and get through and hopefully I can get a call back from someone, thank you x

Please read my reply on this thread, it may help you x


Nicki-Lou123 in reply to sukhy87

Thank you x

Hi Nicki, I have severe asthma and work in a local ER department and neonatal ICU department of our local hospital. It is scary going to work during this time. I understand your concerns. There are days I worry so much I don’t sleep well. What was scary, at the beginning of all this, was that we had people being screened before coming into emergency so they could get tested and be placed in a part of the department where they were protected and staff/other patients were protected...but people would lie, and not answer correctly thinking they would get through faster - and exposed us to the virus! Twice this happened during my shifts. I guess the only advice I can give is to protect yourself. Get in contact with programs in place to see if you need to go back to work with the risks that it has. I live in Canada, but I see over there in the UK, they have some really good programs in place to help those with medical risks to protect themselves. I wish for you all the best. Take care during this time - it is very scary.

Thank you so much for your reply... I can’t even begin to imagine how scary it must be doing your job, and with asthma too, hope you stay safe, you’re doing an amazing job x

Aww thanks! It is scary, and frustrating (because nobody wants to work and keep calling in sick which is totally understandable). But I am SO tired. Last week I worked 120 hours. Nobody wants to hear about being nervous because you have asthma (they just roll their eyes at me and my other co workers who have it), so you just don’t say anything to anyone. I see it as I have a job to do and I will gladly do it. It is scary, but those are the times we live in now. I do worry about others though, and I just wanted to say I understand where you are coming from.

Thank you for your reply, I hope you manage to get some rest! Stay safe and well x

Hello, I suppose wearing mask is the solution for everything nowadays. Just a question, aren't you allergic to dogs? I am to cats. Regards.

Thank you! Yeah, I guess so, although with hay fever that is such a struggle to wear masks... no, I’ve had dogs all my life, and I’m fine with them, although I do have a slight allergy to cats, both my Aunties have them X

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