Staying In A Dangerous Situation

Last updated: February 2020

I listened to a presentation at the annual Association of Asthma Educators conference in Phoenix in July, and the psychologist was talking about dealing with teens.

For those of you who can remember your teenage years, it may have been pretty rough. It’s that awkward time when you may have had braces, uncontrollable acne, and were trying to get your hair to look like the girl on the cover of Teen Magazine (is that still around?)  But, really just trying to figure out who you are and where you fit.

So glad those days are long gone!

The presenter talked about all the roles the teens have - son or daughter, sibling, niece or nephew, aunt or uncle, student, employee, friend, etc. There are so many roles to play.

And how do you find out who you really are?

Many teens really want to “fit in”, not be a target of a bully, and just survive in the background somewhere. Other teens love to be the center of attention. Where did you fit as a teen? The presenter talked about how some kids may just “go with the crowd”. They may just stay with a group of kids or be in a situation that could be dangerous, especially with asthma.

I started thinking about how things are now.

What if teens are with friends who are smoking? Or vaping? Are they going to leave the party? Smoke is definitely an asthma trigger, and that could cause an asthma attack and be a dangerous situation.

What if the coach is running drills with the sports team? And the teen is having a hard time keeping up because they have exercise induced asthma? Are they going to stop and go use their inhaler? Or keep working out with the team because they don’t want to look like the “weak” one on the team? Or look different and then teased by the other students.

I remember girls on my daughter’s soccer team run over to the sidelines, grab their inhaler from their mom, take 2 puffs (incorrectly), and sprint back on the field. But the players don’t want to say anything to the coach - because he might take them out of the game! Coach didn’t see what happened – so rather than taking a break and catching their breath (and getting subbed out), they continue to struggle to run up and down the field. (And I do a face palm.)

What about adults

It's not just teens being stuck in a dangerous situation. What about adults?

Perfume is a newer trigger for me, and I have been stuck in the middle of an auditorium during my daughter's dance recital when someone around me was wearing a really strong perfume. I didn't know who it was, but was hoping I would be okay. Nope. I ended up in the lobby trying to get away from the perfume, and using my inhaler while my daughter performed. Argh! I missed it.

What about being at someone's house who has a dog? Who seems to sense that I don't want them on my lap, so they make a beeline for me and jump and slobber all over me? I have to say, "Your dog is adorable, but I'm actually allergic to dogs. So, maybe he could hang out in the other room while we visit?" This is said while my eyes are watering, my nose is streaming and I am coughing and reaching for my inhaler.

Everyone with asthma is different. You may be okay around perfume or dogs and cats.

Have you had an awkward situation which turned dangerous for your asthma because you couldn't figure out how to make a quick exit?


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