British Lung Foundation
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Emotional

Hi all i was diagnosed with COPD in November and gave up smoking a few days after. Im on Forstair inhaler and recently been given Incruse Ellipta as well. I am very aware or should i say scared of catching a cold knowing it could get worse for me. This weather is seriously worrying me. I work in a school and part of my day is being outside. Even today at lunch break and my phone said it was minus 5 the children were allowed to still play outside meaning i had to be as well. A good friend did my 15 minute bread duty outside as i had told her how worried i am. I got quite tearful this morning just going in to work and worrying about being out in this bitterly cold weather. i have horribly images of ending up in hospital with a serious chest infection and on oxygen. I know it sounds over the top but that is my imagination then i get upset. It is self pity. Now im hearing that tomorrow and Friday weather is going to be just as bad or worse. Although im not ill i am considering lying to work and not going in for the next two days. Should i be strong and make myself go in. Or stay at home and be caution with my COPD ? Jill

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Your employer has a duty of care, both to you and the children. Inform them that cold weather could result in you having an exacerbation and that you would prefer not to have to stand out in sub zero temperatures.

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Thanks for advice. I think it has got to the point now where i will have to say that im not prepared to stand out in this weather.

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Why not give the BLF helpline staff a call? 03000 030 555 during office hours.

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I did yesterday. They cant really say if i should go in or not or felt they couldnt say. They said to read up on there page and said about wrapping up. im wearing a vest then a long sleeved thermal vest a top then a a heat tech sleeveless jacket then a jacket and some how or other managing to get a coat on over all of that lol.

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Only you can choose whether to go to work or not but I feel you need some input as to your rights as an employee. You can always check things out with your union representative.

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Thanks im about to put a txt together with my daughters help saying i will do all the duties inside the building but im seriously worried about standing outside just while this weather is how it is. Which hopefully just for the next few days.

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I am shop steward at the school I work at and that is exactly what I would do. They will have a cut off temp for allowing children outside. I am in Canada and in a Northern city and our temperature is -18. My mom has severe COPD and she tries to stay out of really cold temps because it does irritate her breathing. But the employer has a duty to accommodate at least that's what it is here not to sure where you are. So I would try to get all my ducks in a row and go from there. Hope it all works out for you .

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The majority of cold and flu bugs are spread through touching infected surfaces, door handles, computer mouse/ keyboards etc and then transfered by eating without washing hands first, rubbing eyes or nose. Just make sure that you wash your hands before eating or touching your face and you will limit the amount of colds/flu that you get . vicks first defence is a good nasal spray that you can use at regular times as well, lots of people use it.

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Thanks for advice. I do wash my hands as often as i can. Especially working with kids.

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Put yourself and your COPD first jill. It’s not good to be in the very cold weather if you don’t need to.

Pete had a cold and it went to his chest so no, don’t stand outside. Explain things to the school. Take care xxxxx

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Thanks for sympathetic reply x

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If you do have to go outside in this extrememly cold weather please make sure you wrap a scarf around your mouth and nose so that the air you breathe in is warm. I have been doing this for years in winter and it makes such a difference. Best wishes xx

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Thanks for replying x

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Hi Jill. You really ought not to be out in such cold temperatures with copd, and neither should the children tbh. Explain your concerns to your headteacher, saying politely that you will get a note from your GP for future reference if required. Remind her/him that it’s unlikely to be a problem for many days of the year, and you’re willing to complete other duties indoors. No headteacher will say ‘No’ to that request, I’m sure. Be brave! It will work I’m sure.

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Thank you you are right of course. It is just while the weather is as extreme as it is at the moment. Thanks for your reply.

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Good luck, Jill 🙂

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Hey Jill, at minus5 life should be having recreation inside a gym or somewhere besides outdoors. I would ask the principal or director for some type of accomadations as your health does not permit brutal weather. I don’t think I’d jinx myself by calling in sick. I’d be more inclined to make the school district take appropriate action to prevent illness. Here in the USA they would take a serious look at that situation. Although I live on the west coast and know nothing of temps really under 40 but in the hotter months here they don’t let kids go out in dangerous heat and no adult would even be willing to walk outside during our heatwaves. I’d hate to see you miss a couple days pay but maybe you are able to take the time off and so then I’d say go 4 it but use time wisely like catch up on cooking or laundry-good luck on your decision and stay warm

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Thanks for reply. I went in today. Ended up back outside within minutes of being there as there was a local trip to a book shop for world book week. I managed to stay in at the lunch time. Travelling to and from work cant be avoided. That needs to be added on to the time outside as well.

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Hello Jill777 .

I think everyone has said what I want to say, you should not be out in the freezing cold. I feel like this is causing you mental stress as well as physical. I just want to add, your health should be the most important thing, and putting yourself first should be the priority for you and your employer.

Sending a *Big hug* . 🌸🍀

Cas xx

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Thanks Cas and i think you are right. I am getting upset worrying over what is best to do. It pulls me down in the end. I will chat to my boss tomorrow. x

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You can do this. *Hug* xx 🍀

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Hi jill777

Personally I would advise my superior of my problem .Get a colleague to help stand in for you or even do a swap duty. Cover up well scarf over head and mouth use thermals. The head should consider indoor play for that day. Certainly do not avoid your duty and always do your best.

Good Luck

Dan

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Thanks Dan. I did tell a friend at work what i was worried about and she kindly covered my outside duty on Wednesday. I have always worked hard at work and i usually get in and start a good half hour before i need too. I will talk to the head of the school. As someone else pointed out on here its only for a few days in the extreme cold. Thanks for replying .

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Hi Jill,

My advice would very much depend on what the senior management team is like in your school. Having worked in education for over 15 years, I am very aware that it is probably one of the least sympathetic professions to be in, regarding health issues. If you have a very modern management team, I would go of ill, as it has been my experience that when people are honest they are suddenly put on competency, as a way to get rid of them. I have seen this happen to numerous people (not myself) and am aware of the extreme stress it causes them. The unions proved to be totally ineffective in providing support.

Do take care of yourself. You should not be put in this predicament and I'm sure the children should not be exposed to freezing temperatures.

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Thanks anng1814 it can only be people who have been working in education to truly understand how something so simply to sort out ends up so difficult to do. Out in the playground as you know there is a ratio of adults to children. We barely cover the right amount. It only takes one person not to be there for panic to kick in from management on how or who will cover it if at all. In my working life i have worked in some big companies, but in education as you rightly say they really are unsympathetic. There first worry is who is going to do the job. its not like office work where it can be left and done when the person gets back. Thanks for reply

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I really sympathise with you. Please look after yourself.

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Hi Jill,

This is not weakness or self pity. This is a normal reaction to the diagnosis of a condition that you are now going to have to learn to manage. You have already taken a big decision in taking back an element of control of this situation by giving up smoking. That is a huge step - well done you - but this is also stressful as you get through the nicotine craving.

It is not a good idea to start lying to your employer about your situation. This will only add to your stress, and you have already found by your friend's offer to cover some of your duties that being honest about your health issues will get you the guilt free practical support you need.

Take the same approach with your employer - talk to them. It is only fair that they are aware of your situation if they are to deliver their duty of care to you effectively, and decent employers are more than willing to make reasonable adjustments to help you.

COPD people will always need to be more mindful of weather conditions - both cold and hot, and you will need to find your way through what does and does not suit your body. Ideally in this current extreme chill you would not go out, (who would?!) but if you can get to work, wrap up really warm and keep a scarf over your nose and mouth until you get inside. Standing outside in freezing conditions is not a good idea, and I am sure your employer and colleagues can sort this issue if you are open with them.

I wish you all the best

Min

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Thank you Min. I appreciate your reply. You are so right about lying its not the way to go. Plus my face is the sort that would give me away within seconds. I don't know what i was thinking even contemplating it lol. I will chat to the head of the school and the deputy tomorrow.

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Hi Jill,

How did the chat go?

Min

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Hi and thanks for reply and sorry for late message back to you. As normal at my place when you want to talk to someone you cant find them. I worked out a way to delay going out as late as i can at lunch time which is working. For PE lessons the best part of it is being done indoors as its been extremely cold so that also is minimising my time out side. My break duty outside is once a week so i have fingers crossed that it wont be one of the coldest days. Im coping but not happy about it . i will be leaving there in July. Also got two weeks off soon for Easter cant wait to rest up . Best wishes to you.

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Have you explaned your health Issues to your employer.They have a duty of care in acknowledging your health issues.Do you have an Occupational Health dept / advisor,also H R have to acknowledge and support you whereby practical to do so.As you are recently diagnosed it's understandable that you are concerned about triggers to your condition.Do speak to your manager and request that you remain inside during these adverse weather conditions.I can't give you anymore advice. Take care and good luck

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Thank you for your reply. I will speak to my employer and get this worry out into the open. I worry all the time i mus just be brave and do it.

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I think I would be more concerned about mixing with the children they always seem to have colds and germs they like to share

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That is very true what you have said. The kids just cough straight into your face no matter how many times you ask them to put their hand over their mouths. Thanks for your reply.

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I was a teacher. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as asthma and bronchiecstasis. Playground were really bad for me at any time of the year. My head teacher got me an appointment with occupational health. They were on my side and asked me what I found difficult- I said play ground duty and PE. It was written on the report to the school and they had to adhere to it. Perhaps you need to go down this route.

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Many thanks for your reply. I will talk to the head tomorrow. I am hoping that the extreme weather wont be for much longer and i wont have to worry as i am at the moment. I plan to retire end of this school year in July. I will then have the time to look after myself and i can then go on the breathing programmes for help.

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I planned to retire in July 2016 but ended up going at the end of July 2015 after a bad ofsted - the stress gave me one of the worst flares I’d ever had so I decided enough was enough!

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Sorry to read how stressful that was for you. That's bad that it made you so ill. Its ridiculous the lengths the staff go to for an ofsted inspection. i really wish they would just walk in un announced. If the school was doing as it should be then what is the worry. I cant wait to leave. I get quite tearful a couple of times a week when i feel i just want to walk out of the place. The stupid things that go on drive me crazy. Best wishes to you x

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I just decided one morning that enough was enough. I got onto teachers pensions to find out what I’d lose by going early, spoke to my husband and we decided we could manage without my salary, my dr signed me off with stress and I handed in my notice. I went back for the last week of term to sort out twenty years of stuff and to say goodbye to the children and my friends.ive not regretted a minute of it?

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Be strong have patience and know after you've taken all the positive suggestion you will conquer it you are a warrior never think the worse.

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Thank you for your message.

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Hi Jill. When I was first diagnosed with lung disease, I was afraid. I think what happens when we first get diagnosed, is that we are grieving the loss of our health issues. I'm from Canada and worked for a school board and was unionized. That's means if u have a health issue your union will support you...doing indoor duties instead of outside etc...I hooked up with the mayo clinic connect....getting information also empowers you, as well as Health unlocked...great support systems. I can tell you, with time you get use to the changes, as well as hooking up with a counsellor to give you the extra support that you might need...✌️

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Jill777 hi hun bless u for feeling this way having copd 15 years now im so paronoid about cold wind rain even go out on a very hot day with a cardigan just in case but u only just got it just keep wrapped up u will be fine if u dont want to go out dont keep warm your employer will understand im still here after 15 yrs 😊

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Thank you so much for your message. It is scary having copd. Its lovely to read that you have looked after yourself for so long , i think thats what i need to read to be able to believe that i can do it too. Many thanks x

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