a man coming out of a door from dark clouds to fresh air

Cutting Visits Short Due to Asthma

When my partner and I go to someone's house for the first time, we never know what we might encounter. Air fresheners? Scented candles? Heavily-perfumed people? Cigarettes? Cats? When we enter a home with any of these things and other potential asthma triggers, we are both thinking the same thing - we likely can't stay for long. Unless getting outside and hanging out in the fresh air is an option, staying indoors for too long will likely trigger my partner's asthma.

Have a game plan

We have been in a relationship for several years now, so we've had enough experience as a couple visiting others to know when we need to leave. My partner always has an inhaler on him, or in the glove compartment of his car. We know that if a friend lives in an apartment complex, it can be a bit trickier to step outside and get fresh air. Many of our friends have cats, and if we have this prior knowledge, we plan to stay outside more or limit our visiting time. We plan out together before we arrive how long we want to stay.

The polite and well-planned exit

If we have prior knowledge that the person's house we are going into is not asthma-friendly, we typically will set a time limit for how long we can visit and what we will say to them. Here are some things we might say for a polite exit:

  • "We would love to stop by and stay hi for a few minutes, but have to be somewhere at 4:oopm."
  • "Congratulations on [whatever they are celebrating]! We can't stay, but would love to drop off a bottle of wine for you."
  • "We can't stay for long, but would love to plan something out with you in the near future."

If we enter someone's house for the first time and have a surprise attack from cats, fragrances, or other triggers, then we check in with each other frequently. I look at my partner to see if he feels uncomfortable, or if he sounds like asthma is flaring up. With cats, his eyes also get red and puffy, so this is a clear sign we should leave soon. If we are engaged in conversations, we might try to send a sneaky text to each other signaling that we want to leave soon.

Take asthma into account for next time

If we know someone that has a house that is not asthma-friendly, we will try to instead invite them over to our house next time. My partner and I are very outdoorsy people, so planning get-togethers and excursions outside are ideal for us. Meeting at a coffee shop, restaurant, or a bar is also a good option when the weather is bad.

If one of our friends has a cat, then my partner lets them know that this is one of his worst triggers. That way, next time we make plans, our friends know that we can only really hang out in their backyard, meet somewhere outside of our house, or they can come over to our house. However, it is a bit more uncomfortable to let someone know that their house has too much fragrance, or that they wear too much perfume! If that is the case, we don't say anything, but try to make plans outside of their home.

How do you deal with friends and family that do not have asthma-friendly homes? Do you have a strategic exit plan? Have you ever had to cut a visit short due to asthma triggers?

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