Phrases to Avoid at All Costs
Preventative medication is important to keep inflammation and bronchial constriction at bay, and the better you can avoid these problems, the better your overall health and general asthma prognosis. And of course, a drug that can stifle the frightening and uncomfortable symptoms of an asthma attack deserves to be used. In the case of asthma medication, “tolerance” is not a bad word.
'Asthma’s Not so Bad'
Sometimes it seems that diminishing the severity of a disease can put it into better perspective and take some stress off the other person, but in reality it only serves to highlight the gap in understanding between you two.
Even if you have asthma yourself, don’t make the mistake of assuming your friend, coworker or family member is going through the very same experience. Perhaps your asthma is mild and you have no trouble managing the symptoms, but that doesn’t mean they’re falling short or making a big deal out of nothing. One universal rule of asthma is that is affects everyone differently — it’s simply impossible to know exactly how somebody else is suffering.
Better Ways to Discuss Asthma
If you want to show you care and offer help, you don’t have to shy away from discussion or interaction completely (that would almost certainly send the wrong message). In fact, some simple phrases can get your sympathy across, inspire confidence and make things much more comfortable. Try these out:
'I Believe You'
You don’t need to make promises; offer advice or pretend to understand everything. Sometimes all that’s needed is a genuine, supportive gesture, and this one’s perfect — especially when an asthma sufferer has been defending their disease to others.
'Want to Hang Out?'
This is in the same vein as the phrase above, but it brings a bit more to the table. Offering your company and friendship can go a long way. Asthma symptoms can keep people inside and isolated more than they would like, so offer to come to them.
'I Can Tell How Hard You're Trying'
Asthma symptoms can force people to miss appointments, reschedule events and back out of promises — things that many people will take personally and counter with blame. Instead, express your understanding and patience. Asthma isn’t their fault, and they shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
'I Don't Know What to Say, but I'm Here for You'
Inevitably, there will be a time where you just can’t come up with a reasonable response. Rather than fumble around for some sage advice or sympathetic quip, just be honest. You may have no words to offer, but you can help in a lot of other ways.
The more comfortable you are asking questions and listening without offering advice in return, the more successful any discussion about asthma will be. There’s a lot you can learn, and being open to learning shows genuine interest and respect for the other person. Remember, this shouldn’t be a power struggle — asthmatics struggle enough as it is.