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Have you ever discussed struggling with asthma with people who don't have it?

Have you ever talked about struggling with your asthma with non asthmatic folks? Maybe you have, only to be met with answers like: "It's just the season." "This season is hard for a lot of asthmatics." or "You'll feel better in a few months."

I'll be honest. I've really struggled with asthma this year. It has been really rough for me. Every time I have mentioned how hard it's been to my friends who don't have asthma or chronic health issues, they have responded with reasons why they thought I was struggling and when they thought I'd feel better. And it made me feel kinda blown off and a little bit sad. I was just wondering if anyone else had experienced this.

What actually got me feeling better was an appointment with my asthma specialist to discuss medication. It's been a tough year.

  1. Hi again, - this is a very interesting and very current issue for many with an asthma diagnosis - thanks for posting it in our 'forums' section!
    I can tell you that, prior to becoming a respiratory therapist, my experiences speaking about asthma with folks who were unfamiliar with it, was much like yours. What always amazed me (and still does today!), is that even though people may not have any experience with the disease, it never seemed to stop them from providing their very opinionated and even unsolicited advice.
    Once I became a respiratory therapist, I found that the same types of folks who I speak to throughout my career seem to defer to what I have to say! The respect for the respiratory therapy field, and me as a professional, in that regard, is gratifying to see.
    I'll be interested to see what the rest of our community has to say about this issue. I am hopeful there will be no shortage of responses.
    I understand just the sort of difficult year you've had, Wild Tech - we have all tried to lend you as much support as is feasible. We also try to be the kind of community where you are comfortable to share whatever is on your mind.
    Wishing you well!
    Leon L (author/moderator asthma.net)

    1. Hi again, Wild Tech, and thanks for your kind words. We here on our asthma.net team and community, appreciate your kind words.
      Warmly,
      Leon L (author/moderator asthma.net)

    2. We are so glad to be here for our members. It can be challenging when people offer unsolicited advice, especially about something as personal as managing a health condition like asthma. While many individuals may mean well and believe they are helping by understanding in their own way, it's important to prioritize advice from those who have a comprehensive understanding of your specific situation, such as your physician. With off-handed comments, I tend to tell myself "Let it roll off". Some ways to help yourself in a situation like that may be to consider politely acknowledging the input and expressing gratitude, while also making it clear that you're working closely with your healthcare team to manage your asthma. Being an advocate and educating those around you about the nature of your condition and the importance of following professional medical guidance may help set boundaries.


      Wishing you a better year in 2024 - Happy Holidays !! Rebecca (community moderator)

  2. So, I am one of those outsiders -- I don't have asthma. I am here to make sure things run smoothly and offer support where I can, and thankfully I am well-trained and educated. That said, I am often careful about what I contribute because, as you rightly noted, I don't know what it's like. All the education in the world can't replace a lived experience, and that's why sites like these are so important. You all need a space to connect with those who really get it.

    I think for most people, it's innocent ignorance. People don't often realize how debilitating conditions like asthma (or migraine or an anxiety disorder, etc) can be. Do you ever try to talk to them about it? Of course, this is *not* an obligation or responsibility. But if you have the energy, maybe a frank discussion about what asthma is really like could help. Or you could simply say, "I appreciate you trying to help, but what I need most is someone to listen without trying to 'fix' it."


    I am curious about the perspective of out -- she advocated for her own asthma needs and those of her kids so much that she ended up becoming an asthma educator. I bet she'd have some great thoughts.

    Thinking about you, Tech. Thanks for this topic! -Melissa, asthma team


    1. and ,
      This is one frustrating part of having asthma - everyone around you is an "expert" on your lungs. Sigh.
      As a life long asthma sufferer, and mom to three adult kids with asthma, I know that asthma can be frustrating and confusing. Since we all have a different biological backgrounds, that can affect what type of asthma we have and how to treat it. Researchers now know that asthma is an umbrella term and there are different types of asthma under that based on your biological makeup.
      One famous doctor once said, "If you have seen one case of asthma, you have seen one case of asthma."
      Sometimes we can have a long streak where asthma behaves itself, and other times our lungs can be cranky little jerks - for months on end
      My college aged daughter has had a particularly rough spring, summer, fall - and now winter. She said the last time she felt like this was when she was a little kid and was in the hospital multiple times. She's already had allergy shots to help control her asthma, but feels like her allergies were out of control all year - which led to near constant asthma attacks. She's been steadily moving on to higher strength inhalers, and adding on other inhalers to used for COPD patients (but also used for those with difficult to control asthma). She's on the highest dosing and combination of inhalers, but is still struggling and needing to use her albuterol inhaler more often than she should.
      Her allergy & asthma doc is puzzled, and is running a serious of labs, pulmonary lung function tests, re-testing her for allergies, etc. We're waiting to see if her IgE level is elevated enough for a biologic.
      What people without asthma fail to realize is that EVERYTHING can set off asthma - tree pollen in spring, grass pollen in summer, ragweed and molds in the fall. In winter, we are stuck indoors more often and are around dust mites, poor indoor air quality, cooking fumes, perfume, scented candles, scented pine cones.......the list goes on and on. (Add respiratory infections like COVID, RSV, and the flu on top of all of that, and we can be in big trouble.)
      It's no wonder our lungs can be cranky little jerks if they are always being assaulted by one asthma trigger after another.
      And as for people who don't have asthma - hold me back! Where do I start? I'm tired of the phrase "have you tried......" and then they list "healing juices", essential oils, yoga, etc, etc. In fact, my husband bought a t-shirt for me that says, "Have you tried leeches?"
      Luckily, I have a couple of "Asthma BFF's", and we can commiserate about hard seasons, changes in our treatment plans, etc. Two of us are Certified Asthma Educators, and the other is a long time Respiratory Therapist. So we know our stuff and can commiserate with others going through a tough time.
      I'm glad you are on this forum, as it's easier to chat with others who have allergies and asthma and "get it." I'm sure your friends are wonderful, but there are things only another person with asthma can understand.
      Hope you stay healthy this winter!
      Andrea, Certified Asthma Educator

  3. I know how you feel. I have had asthma since birth and never understood the majority of my illness until my twenties and not having sound advice from medical professionals until my thirties.


    I have found that if your Illness provides an inconvenience to people they do not want to know even when you explain in detail on how your illness affects you and your life as a whole or they do not want to believe and say or do silly and inconsiderate things.
    People expect asthmatics to be chronically ill and needing emergency treatment before they will take you seriously which is quite shocking.
    I still find my self telling people not to do certain things around me or having to leave venues for one reason or another and even affecting me being able to find suitable work.


    There are still questions I have about my Illness that I do not understand and is quite frustrating because speaking to medical professionals can be unproductive especially asthma nerves who from my perspective seem to have a very basic understanding.

    There needs to be more understanding and education about asthma in my view.


    1. Here's a more updated map of the states that have Asthma Home Visit program funding https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/contacts/default.htm

    2. Nice to meet you! I think you will find yourself in good company -- a good portion of our members are still working to understand their asthma diagnosis and the way it presents in their unique circumstances. There is always more to learn. Hopefully we can be a good resource for you, or at least point you in the right direction. Do you want to share some of the additional questions you have? Looking forward to getting to know you better. -Melissa, asthma team

  4. I do get frustrated with it from time to time. That is long aha, I will give them a go and hopefully they will be helpful.
    In regards to your son I am sorry to hear that, yes being in hospital and being given tons of information can be daunting, I’m sure you have come across the professionals who do not give you that much information too.
    I have found my self researching and learning long with half of my knowledge has come from experience.

    1. We understand how one can be frustrated trying to help others understand their chronic condition, as well as getting only minimal to no education from professionals over the years. There does need to be more education about asthma. It's certainly commendable that you've taken the initiative to research and learn about asthma, especially when a significant portion of your knowledge comes from personal experience. Living with a chronic condition like asthma often leads individuals to become "experts" in managing their health. Thanks for sharing your experience and being here in the community offering up your view. Sending healing and healthy wishes your way for the holidays - Rebecca (community moderator)

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