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Four Things Not To Say To A Person With Asthma

09/02/2018

As I write this I’m lying on my bed sweating, shaking and gasping for air like a fish out of water. I look like I’ve just finished running a marathon when all I’ve done is walk up stairs to get my phone charger. It feels like my lungs are on fire; I can’t get enough air into them no matter how hard I try.

I don’t even need to have done anything to trigger one some days; I can literally just be sat reading, eating or having a conversation when I have an attack.

Four Things Not To Say To A Person With Asthma

I’ve been asthmatic since I was around 7 years old. It started off fairly mild; I could still do day to day things and it would only effect me when I was playing rugby or had to run track in P.E. lessons.

By 11 I was struggling to walk up to school in a morning.

By 18 I was having more bad days than good.

At 24 it’s got to the point where it’s noticeably affecting my day to day life. I can’t walk for long distances, I can’t lift heavy objects and I can’t even go outside when the weather drops below a certain temperature or gets too hot.

More than 1 in 12 adults and 1 in 11 children in the UK are asthmatic and many people end up in hospital with it at some point in their lives. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always been able to wait out my attacks and never needed to be rushed through to A&E; but its been a close call on a few occasions.

This list could easily have been 15 pages long but I’ve narrowed it down to the three things I’m sick of being told the I have an asthma attack.

Just breath

I know people mean well when they say this, but honestly it’s one of the most annoying things you could say.

What do you think I’m going to do?!

Instead of saying this it would be more helpful to ask the person in advance what works for them, so you know what to do if they have an attack around you. Some people find being distracted helpful, others want reassurance and some want to just be left to deal with it themselves. Now obviously this only works if you know the person. If it’s a stranger the best thing you could do is ask them how you can help and don’t leave them alone.

If things get so bad that you’re concerned about them, phone for an ambulance. Asthma is more severe than people seem to realise and can quickly deteriorate; so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Four Things Not To Say To A Person With Asthma

You’re so unfit

No! Just no. I’ve actually had random strangers say this to me when I get short of breath in public places.

When I explained to one guy who did this that I was severely asthmatic, he actually said to me “you don’t look like you have asthma, I think you’re just making that up”…

Why people think it’s acceptable to comment on someone else’s life is beyond me!

You’re just being lazy

This one ties in pretty well with the last one, but I’ve lost count of amount of times I’ve been told I’m lazy for taking the lift rather than the stairs.

Back when I was in college, I had to fight to be allowed to use the lift there. The college had 6 levels and I was all the way up on level 5.

Typical.

The problem was you could only use the lift if you had a disability and originally they didn’t consider asthma a valid reason to use it.

That all changed after I collapsed after climbing up the 5 flights of stairs. The first aiders had to be called and they demanded that reception add a lift pass to my student card.

If it wasn’t for the fact I couldn’t breath, I’d have happily shouted I told you so at them!

Four Things Not To Say To A Person With Asthma

But you were fine yesterday

I’m lucky in that I don’t really get this as much anymore. Mostly because I’ve slowly got rid of anyone in my life who was being negative about my mental or physical health problems. I just don’t have time for it now I have a choice of who’s in my life.

But over the years I’ve heard this plenty of times, especially in school. Some people just don’t seem to get that you can be great one day but hardly able to get out of bed the next.

There’s normally no warning; my lungs can just suddenly decide that they don’t want to work anymore.

Such fun.

Whats the worst thing you’ve ever had said to you about a medical condition?

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14 responses to “Four Things Not To Say To A Person With Asthma”

  1. Alys George says:

    Oh Jade I had no idea, this must be so awful to have people say these things. My brother suffers with asthma and I feel like I understand it so much now.

    You’re honestly amazing girly, don’t forget that.

    Alys / alysgeorge.blogspot.co.uk

  2. Jade Marie says:

    Oh bless him; I honestly wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy- it’s hell! I’m glad that the post has helped you understand what it’s like a bit more though 🙂

    Thank you so much lovely! I used to get so upset by it, but now I just get annoyed and give them a sarcastic answer…once I can breath again 😂

  3. It must be so frustrating when people make comments like this to you! I’d be so angry! It’s rude to say things like ‘you’re so unfit’ anyway but especially when you have underlying health issues which aren’t visible to people! How dare they say things like this! I’m angry for you hun so I dread to think how it makes you feel!

    Jess xx

  4. Jade Marie says:

    Thank you so much hun! Honestly I used to get upset but these days I just get angry and give them a piece of my mind- not the reaction they expect from a 5 foot nothing hobbit! I honestly don’t know why people feel it’s okay to say shit like this to other people; what happened to if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all 🙄

  5. I don’t blame you! People who come out with crap like this deserve to be put in their place and exactly people can be so cruel these days there’s no need!x

  6. Bexa says:

    Other people’s judgements can be so wrong and unnecessary. I had asthma when I was younger and struggling for breath is so so scary. It’s not as bad now but I still understand and remember how it feels. It’s great you have written a post on it Jade, hopefully people will understand and think before they make unfair comments 💖 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  7. askagimp says:

    People can be so rude.

  8. Some people can be so freaking cruel. My husband has asthma though it’s not too bad, he just has to take an inhaler during moments he has a bad attack (mostly during the spring, because where we live brings out the worst attacks since we live by a bunch of trees). I knew someone in elementary school who also suffered from asthma and had a very difficult time running, she couldn’t even have a pet (though she did manage to get it under control, seeing that in recent photos she has a dog now).

    Hannah the Mad Dog

  9. Jade Marie says:

    They can 😔 and I’m lucky that there isn’t anything in particular that sets it off (minus thins like smoke which is to be expected). The problem with that is that attacks can be really random and I never know where I’m going to have one! Glad your husbands isn’t as bad- I wouldn’t wish it on anyone! 🙁

  10. Zoe says:

    I can’t believe a stranger thought you were making your asthma up! Seriously – people can be jerks. Sorry you have to put up with all this, Jade!! <3

  11. Jade Marie says:

    Thanks Zoe! 💛 I couldn’t believe it myself!!

  12. Love this post so so so relatable, I suffered from awful asthma attacks throughout high school and I was told to ‘Just Breathe’ more times than I could count! X

  13. Jade Marie says:

    It’s honestly the most annoying thing someone could say isn’t it?!x

  14. Holly says:

    This has made me feel so much better to know there is other people who feel like I do! I’m currently laid on my bed trying catch my breath and not wake my baby while having a coughing fit! Like you I have no set triggers except unexpected changes in weather but since having my little boy just over a year ago I’m struggling more. Most of it is down to stress but it doesn’t help being told to “chill and breathe” if I could I would xx

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HI THERE!

Thanks for stopping by! I’m a twenty-five-year-old digital media graduate with a passion for writing and a desire to change the way we view mental health and autism. I’ve owned jademarie.co.uk for nearly two years now, and its slowly changed from a place where I would brain dump whatever was going through my head that day, into a place where people can come for help, advice and hopefully a bit of a laugh. I do occasionally come out with a witty sentence or two. Mostly by accident.

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