How to talk to my friend about asthma and triggers in their home?

I have a wonderful friend of many years, and I go to visit her every six months or so (we don’t live near each other). I love her like a sister, but she doesn’t dust or vacuum, and everything’s covered in dust and pet hair. She also smokes inside. I’ve always found the air in her house unpleasant, but I tolerated it for the sake of her company. Two months ago, I was diagnosed with asthma. I had to be hospitalized and I still have symptoms every day. There is no way I can visit my friend’s house the way it is – but how can I tell her so with a minimum of hurt feelings?


Community Answers
  • SandiOli
    3 months ago

    Hi rjmoon, Perhaps by now (I see you posted this about a month ago) you have found a way to speak with your friend and others openly about what you can and cannot tolerate being an asthmatic. I remember many years ago an ER doctor who also was asthmatic telling me, you may lose some friends but your life will depend on you being in control of your asthma triggers. Thankfully, dogs are not one of mine and I have two beautiful Goldens. But, I stopped attending wedding receptions, baby showers, parties, bonfires, etc. that put me at risk of exposure to smokers, perfumes and people that attend an event sick or not! My family and friends now know to not take it personal that I am not at their event. I am just doing what I Must do to be in control of my breathing condition. You want to eliminate having to go to the hospital because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or miss out on an event. Wishing you well. SandraOli

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    3 months ago

    Hi again, SandiOli and thanks for posting your experiences and successes managing your asthma-condition. The doctor you referred to has given you sage advice and clearly, you took it to heart and made it work for you. We all benefit from reading your anecdotal story that is so personal and candid.
    I am also hopeful we will hear back from rjmoon – who has seemed to go silent following the posted comment back towards the end of July.
    Wishing you the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi rjmoon and thanks for your post. The relationship you enjoy with your friend may now be compromised by your recent (asthma) diagnosis and the condition of her home. Even though you see her but twice a year, it doesn’t sound like you are going to put yourself at risk by being in her environment. You may want to broach this topic by phone and see how it goes from there. Recognizing how sensitive this issue can be, I wish you luck. Perhaps you can suggest meeting in a neutral location, that might work, too. Please do check back and let us know how you’re doing. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

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