Masks: Hi there I am new to this site... - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum

16,142 members20,763 posts



Hi there

I am new to this site and I hope someone can advise me , I have a mild form of Asthma and take one puff from my preventer inhaler twice a day, now I wish to know should I be wearing mask or not as I have seen many passengers coming onto the buses saying they have asthma and not wearing a mask.

Your help with this is much appreciated

***Edited by Asthma UK*** 😷😷😷

Hi everyone 😊 - Just adding a link to our website re: this discussion on masks - hopefully you will all find helpful: .

Also I just wanted to point you towards our 'pinned post' on oxygen saturation probes recently:

25 Replies

If your asthma is mild and isn’t causing you any problem then I think you’re safe to use it, only people who’s asthma affects them often don’t need to wear it or those who’s asthma is made worse by the mask. Hope that helped

If you can tolerate a mask then yes you should wear a mask. I struggle to wear one but can keep it on for a few minutes so use it if I need to go into a shop.

Currently the UK government has said that if you have a respiratory condition you don’t have to wear a face covering. If you have asthma it’s a personal decision whether you wear one or use your exemption.

I personally use a fine chiffon scarf which I can breathe through relatively comfortably. I think I would feel very uncomfortable not wearing something when everyone else is. I do wear my exemption lanyard just to make it clear why I’m wearing a scarf rather than a mask.

EmmaF91Community Ambassador

If it doesn’t trigger you then you should wear a mask. Some people aren’t triggered by mask wearing, others are. The exemption is for the people who can’t without getting issues.

Hope this helps

Masks are a personal preference. I have severe asthma and I try to wear a mask as much as I can but some times it’s just not possible, or I can wear it for a while but it triggers an attack it depends on where I am and the environment I am in and for how long eg the temperatures. Do what is comfortable for you but maybe carry a exemption card in case for times it’s hard.

Hope this helps

Troilus in reply to looneyno1

I wear a mask. It took me quite a few tries to find one that I could breathe through. The one I use, is two layers of cotton. It covers my mouth and nose, but there is a gap either side of the bridge of my nose. ( Not very noticeable.) Rubbish protection, I reckon, but it removes the glares and tuts from other people.

Agree with Emma - the exemption for respiratory conditions is only for those who can't tolerate a mask/face covering, not just because you have a particular condition. For some people with asthma, no matter whether mild, severe or in-between, they will be able to tolerate a covering of some sort all of the time (and many will have tried a variety in order to facilitate this). Others will be able to tolerate a covering some of the time and so are doing so when they can. Another group won't be able to tolerate them at all. But, if one can, then they should.

I can't easily manage a 2-layer mask but can manage single-layer cotton masks. Ok they're probably not very effective but preferable to nothing.

I have severe asthma with multiple drugs and was shielded - am definitely wearing a mask but am not taking long journeys or shopping for a long time inside - why wouldn’t you want to protect yourself?

Sugar246 in reply to Birthday60

Masks don't protect you. It protects the other person.So your mask protect me and my mask protect you.

If you can wear a face covering that's fine. If not, well you don't have to wear one.

WheezyAnne in reply to Sugar246

There has been some recent research carried out on this, see Dr John Campbell's u tube messages for the official research details. An official study showed that whilst wearing a mask does not stop you from getting CVID, you are more likely to get a milder dose, be a- symptomatic. Another reason for wearing a mask where we can. Although only one study so far. Sorry I don't have the details of which daily report it was in.

I have pretty uncontrolled asthma, shielding etc. I work in Royal Mail and it's pretty well me and nobody else wearing a mask. I consider myself surrounded by selfish, complacent idiots. A few of these idiots have bogus cards to say they can't wear a mask. It's not that they can't, they just find them a nuisance. If you CAN wear a mask, then you should. It's the very least anyone can do to protect the wider community.

Spot on twinkly if can tolerate then use. As birthday 60 said why take the risk. The last I read (clearly I maybe wrong so please don't quote me) asthma is not an exemption but like twinkly said depends on what you can tolerate.

I have severe asthma an work in healthcare so had to wear a surgical mask for 12hr shifts (yes this was difficult to say the least) i tried a few different masks until i found one that was not as bad as surgical ones!

Personally i wouldn't dream of going near people without a covering of some sort (IF CAN TOLERATE) my lungs literally hate me enough as it is!! 🤣😂🤪 stay safe. 🙂

Same. Have to wear a surgical mask at least for 12hr shift and I'm sure makes my asthma worse but gotta be done.

To the OP... wear a surgical mask for 12hrs then switch to a cloth mask and you'll find it's a breeze to wear! Anyway, you really only need to cover your face for such a short time if you're in a shop/bus etc it can't be that bad. If you don't do it for you, do it for others :)

If you can wear a mask then wear one. If you cannot then don't. You are exempt because you have a respiratory illness.

I behave chronic asthma and I wear a mask with no problems. If it doesn’t cause any problems then I think you should wear one to protect yourself

People with respiratory illnesses are not automatically exempt though. The exemption is if their condition (whether respiratory, mental health, autism, etc) means they can't tolerate a face covering.

Conversely, yes many people with asthma can and do manage face coverings and indeed many have to do so for long hours at work. But this does not mean everyone else can or should be able to just because "others have it worse and they manage" or whatever. People who can't, assuming they've tried different options, shouldn't be made to feel bad because others can wear them or indeed have to wear them for work.

I have been surprised that visors are never discussed, not specifically here, but not at all. I got hold of a small quantity very cheaply, and I sometimes wear them, or masks, the cotton cloth variety. One thing about visors is that it is so very much easier to breathe. And possibly protects the wearer better than some masks.

Do you have a oximeter? You can pick them up for about £5-£10 online. I wasn't sure if wearing a mask was right for me so I did a little experiment to see what effect it had. I first wore a mask for 20 minutes just sitting at my computer working. My oximeter reading just went down just 1% from 98% to 97% but this is within acceptable limits (>94%). I repeated the same test but this time whilst I was doing something active (cleaning the kitchen). Again, it only went down to 96%. This gave me more confidence that it's not restricting my ability to breathe and I know it won't have an negative effect. These days I actually feel safer in my mask which I know isn't true as they protect others, but it's a little comfort even so.

EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to SECRAVEN

With asthma it’s not a sats issue however. If you have a reliable PF you can do the same experiment with PF if not you will have to go off symptoms. But please don’t use sats, it’s not relevant for asthma and asthma control. For example if I’m twitchy and wear a mask my PF can drop down to 30-40%, however last time I can be in resus with PFs at this level but an ‘acceptable’ saturation. For asthma sats usually don’t drop until you’re really in danger, and below 92% is classed as life threatening.

By all means experiment, but don’t use sats. Use your PF, if go off symptoms.

With me it depends on how controlled I am. On good days I can wear masks (in fact last admissions discharge I managed to wear a proper medical mask, not just a thin 1 layer that I pull off on average days), on not good days I can’t. Some people can, some people can’t. For me it always drops my PF but it depends on start point as to how badly it drops.

Test it out, experiment and measure PF to see if it’s affecting your asthma, but please don’t use sats as an indicator that everything is fine

(AUKs opinion on sats probes for monitoring asthma: )

SECRAVEN in reply to EmmaF91

I had no idea. Thank you for sharing the knowledge. I've often felt like I was struggling to breathe but because oximeter is showing 97-98% I've put it down to something like a panic attack. I'll repeat my experiment with Peak Flow readings instead and keep a closer eye on that in the future.

I have mild asthma mostly but can struggle at times. I wear a mask as I dont think my asthma is bad enough to stop me. But I really struggle when I am grocery shopping...I cant get the air I need sometimes and get dreadfully hot. Very uncomfortable indeed but needs must. I found the paper N95 mask more user friendly and a bit easier to breath.

I am going to try the peak flow test to see what the mask does.

Good luck everyone.

I understand that peak flow can reduce quite alarmingly if a face covering is worn for any length of time. Asking a person with severe asthma to cover their nose and mouth to see if it causes an asthma attack is like asking someone to cut their arm to see if it hurts. There is also a psychological issue for anyone who has struggled to breathe, or would struggle to breathe without the regular use of a powerful inhaler. It is a very personal matter and we should avoid criticising each other. Unfortunately there is no shortage in the World of people who like telling others what to do.

IHi Coolcat2020

I got some cotton ones and there a bit easier too wear than some of them, I put it on to go in to the shop and take it off again outside, if the shops too warm, I have to go out side for cool air.

But I do have a badream stayang I have Asthma,

A sight I went onot where giving them away a couple of months ago.

Hope you find a mask that's suitable x

Destiny x

I would say if you can then do!

To add to the comment earlier about a mask offering protection to you as well as others, it’s now being widely mooted in the scientific community that the much smaller viral intake via a mask is nevertheless sufficient for you to produce antibodies and develop immunity. So good news and good reasons for wearing a mask if you can.

I’m shocked to read about the people with fake exemptions; I knew it was happening to some extent just wasn’t aware how widespread it is. Despicable. And denying themselves protection as well as others.

You may also like...