Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
inhaler wobbling on top of a Jenga tower

Murphy’s Asthma Laws

I’m sure we’re all familiar with Murphy’s Laws. It’s an adage that says “Anything that can go wrong will.” For instance, you drop a piece of bread and it will always land butter side down. In this article, I thought I’d list Murphy’s Laws of Asthma.1

Murphy’s inhaler law

Your inhaler was right there until you need it.

You just got three rescue inhalers. As soon as you open one you’ll lose it. You open the second one, you lose that one too. Before you know it you have three lost inhalers.

You always have lots of spare rescue inhalers lying around. But, when you need one you can’t find one.

You won’t realize you forgot your inhaler until you’re a long way from home.

When you realize you don’t have your rescue inhaler you need it.

There’s always a lost inhaler under your couch cushions unless you’re looking for it.

When you get to your car your rescue inhaler will be in your house.

When it comes to doctors and medication

When you’re asthma worsens to the point you decide to seek help. Chances are pretty good it’s after 5 p.m. on weekdays or on a weekend.

The day your lungs decide to act up is the day your doctor is out of the office.

The day you need medicine right now will be the day the pharmacy is swamped. The line to the cash register will be long.

Whenever you decide to leave your house you must first do something like hunt for your medicines and pack them.

The awesome medicines that make you feel better make you feel bloated and miserable.

If there’s a very expensive medicine you’ll be the one to need it or benefit from it.

If a medicine is taken off the market you will be the one person left in need of it.

The doctor keeps telling you that most asthmatics outgrow their asthma. You are the one who doesn’t.

When you need a steady hand yours will quiver, a nice side effect of asthma medicines.

The same doctor who tells you to lose weight puts you on systemic corticosteroids.

You can’t breathe very well. You finally decide to see a doctor or go to the emergency room. As soon as you get there you feel fine.

The medicine that works for everyone else won’t work for you.

You’re in need of a nebulizer

Nebulizers only break when you need them most.

You are feeling good. You clean your house and toss out that old nebulizer you never use anyway. And then a few days later you find that you need it.

When you’re in need of that spare nebulizer you can’t find it.

Of course you get sick when…

When you get a bad cold and it affects your asthma. This will almost always happen just prior to your three day weekend at work.

If you catch a respiratory virus it will be one that causes the most asthma.

If one person in a crowded room has a cold, you will catch it.

If you have plans to go on vacation you will catch a cold the day you leave.

Anything that can go wrong will

If you think you will get better you will get worse.

If your asthma can’t get worse it will.

The moment you allude to your asthma being cured, gone, or in remission, it will get worse.

If there is a rare side effect you will experience it.

You are the first person to help your friends decide when to seek help. But when you need help yourself you can’t decide when to seek help.

One pill falls to the bottom of a drawer when you open the pill bottle. When the pill bottle is empty and you forgot to get a new one, that pill at the bottom of the drawer will elude capture.

Only 10% of the world’s populace has a diagnosis of asthma, and it so happens to be us.

You have an asthma attack and find that you’re not prepared for it. You can’t find your rescue inhaler. You can’t find your controller. You can’t find the doctor’s number. You say, I won’t do this ever again. I’m going to be prepared next time. Then you get very prepared. And then a long time passes before your next asthma attack. And you forget you have asthma, per se. You fell back to your old ways. And, when you have that next attack, you find yourself in the same boat as before. Doh!

Something interesting to ponder

These are things we don’t want to happen. According to Murphy’s Laws, “If anything can go wrong it will.” Or, “If anything cannot go wrong, it will anyway.”

There’s another saying I find interesting: “We learn from our mistakes more than from our successes.” As we review this list of Murphy’s Asthma Laws, we are reminded (at least I am) of the importance of always being prepared.

So, what about you? Can you relate to any of these? Any laws we should add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Murphy's Law. Wikipedia. Accessed on: May 28, 2019. From:


  • Shellzoo
    6 months ago

    And continuing to learn from Murphy’s Asthma Laws, today I went to refill my Symbicort because I only have tonight’s dose left and discover I have no refills. Left a message with my provider right away but might miss a dose tomorrow before it is refilled. Lesson learned is to keep track of refills and call provider before you are down to your last dose. Ready to read part 2 of this article. Good asthma control requires not missing doses of the daily controller inhaler.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    6 months ago

    Hi Shellzoo. Been there done that. And, unfortunately, will probably be there again. It’s part of being normal I guess. John. Site Moderator.

  • Shellzoo
    6 months ago

    Thankfully the med refill has been called in and I managed to get a last dose in this morning so I won’t miss a dose. I worked hard to get good asthma control, I don’t want to slip.

  • heavybreather
    8 months ago

    1)Your rescue inhaler stops working or runs out a week before insurance will pay for a new one.
    2)the only inhaler that works for you is not on the insurance approved list

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    8 months ago

    Your comment is so well timed for me. I literally just had #1 happen to me. We will definitely have to add these to part II. John. Author/ Site Moderator.

  • Shellzoo
    8 months ago

    I will add that you use your rescue inhaler, wonder why it did not seem to help and discover it is expired. Also you think your asthma is really controlled only to get another inhaler added to your routine at your next visit. The lesson I have learned is to never underestimate asthma.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    8 months ago

    And so begins “Murphy’s Laws of Asthma: part 2.” 🙂 Thanks for sharing. I’m sure all we asthmatics can think of a ton more, unfortunately. Thanks. John. Author/ Site Moderator.

  • Poll