Being caught out without your Inhaler

Hi there, I'm new to Health Unlocked but not new to Asthma, had it since birth, and at 6 months old stopped breathing and almost died (I'm 22 now). I feel I can control my Asthma fairly well, and have an attack every 5 or so years. I never wanted to be one of those people that relied on an inhaler and as a kid never really took it, unless I felt like I needed it. Thus I never really carried an inhaler on me meaning when I have had an attack it always turned out pretty bad.

Now onto what I need help with, I'm a graphic design student in my third year and am currently doing a project about chronic illness and how to help people manage it, and I've chosen Asthma to focus on as I have plenty of personal experience with it. So what I need is other people's personal accounts of asthma attacks, especially ones where you were caught off guard without you medication, how you handled it and why you weren't carrying your inhaler? To help me identify areas which could be improved on.

I the last two times I've had an attack I've not had my inhaler on me, because it happens so rarely I forget I need it and leave it at home, but have been at school and Uni when it happened so there were others around me to help and go and collect my inhaler or order a taxi to take me home to get it. I now carry one in my bag all the time (but do not if its empty or out of date), but there are times I'm without my bag and don't carry it, I've yet to be in a situation where I'm by myself without medication, but do not know how I'll handle it. Any personal experiences you could share would help me out a bunch, and any other comments or thoughts on the state of Asthma and its treatment in the UK would be a helpful insight. Like the shape of the inhaler or medical professionals approach to asthma etc.

Thank you in advance for reading all this, and hope you can help with my project.


13 Replies

  • I don't know if this will be of any help, but my grandson (7) is asthmatic and takes his inhaler to school. One day they went on a field trip and it was left behind in the classroom. None of the staff thought to ensure he took his inhaler with him. He needed to use it during the afternoon and realised it was not in his pocket. The result was that he ended up in hospital having a very severe attack.

  • Hi

    I use blue inhaler COPD

    Apart from the one I keep in my car unopened ,

    I carry one with me, this is placed next to my wallet and keys, so I can't forget.

    Just looking at a boxed one the expire date is Nov 2016

    Once opened and used they leak so probably will not last as long, shaking the canister gives a indication of content.

    As you are at uni is there a local pharmacy who would supply you with a replacement in a emergency.

    As these are available at supermarkets, a search for location could be a asset.

    If fact a location source could help you and many others.

    Sorry can't with asthma research.

  • There is a pharmacy and doctors near my uni but am not registered with them (I don't know if this would matter). I know when I had my attack no one thought to go there and get an emergency inhaler, but that's a very good point thanks for bringing it up, I will go and ask tomorrow to see what they can do in that situation. Thank you​

  • Hi I have run out of my blue inhaler before and the chemist very kindly gave me another. They could see from my records that I always had it and ordered it through them. A few times I forgot it at work but knew there were others who had it and I could borrow one of theirs. I did once or twice.

    I hate the design of them coz I can never tell how much is left in it and wish they had a counter like the symbicort. Also I take mine everywhere now but I find when it's in my bag the lid always falls off. I wish it had a proper hinge on it so that didn't happen.

    A friend of mine had an asthma attack and had run out hers, but fortunately she lived very close and her son came running round to mine to take my spare one. I did give her a little lecture and I think she made sure it was always to hand in future. x

  • Don't you have yours on a repeat prescription Cough? Soon as i start using my last one I order another, so there's always a spare. Otherwise it really is easy to get caught out. x

  • Yes I do O2. Once a month I put my repeat prescription in at the chemists and it is included in that. Thanks for your reply. x

  • kieranjames161 I think I am lucky I have a very understanding doctor who allows me to keep spares of Ventolin. I keep one by the bed one in the car one in my handbag and one spare. I rotate them so that the date does not expire before I need them. I always check before leaving the house that I have them, it would be like going out without my purse, or house keys. Having said all of that I know that my local pharmacy would supply on a loan basis if ever one was needed.

  • Hi, I don't have Asthma but I use a blue inhaler. I always have spares in the house & carry one with me at all times. I don't need it very often but I would probably go in a panic if I found I didn't have one to hand.

    I can get my inhalers on repeat prescription whenever I need them.

    Hope your project goes well 😀

  • I keep a blue inhaler with me all the time and have them on repeat prescription but they don't help or nebulisers I have COPD

  • You can buy the blue inhaler from the chemist they are a few pence less than a prescription

  • I was first diagnosed with Asthma in the 80's which at the time some doctors treated with Valium as they thought it was a nervous problem?

    I have been told I have Brittle Asthma as well as RLD and PH all of which can make me SOB! However I find the Blue inhaler less affective unless it is the Asthma kicking in.

    I learnt to control my breathing when It looked like an attack was imminent. I sat on a dining chair lean slightly forward (opens lungs ) then take slow deep deliberate breaths. This then stops the panic breathing problem.

    Be Well

  • I do this when my throat feels like it has something in it "you know a feeling like a pepper is in there" Well anyway I found your explanation helpful to identify with.

  • Thank you all for your replies they are extremely helpful in understanding areas where there are problems and need improving. I'm sure I will have more questions as the project goes on, so I doubt this will be my last post. Thank you for taking the time to reply and help. Kieran​

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