I couldn’t do basketball practice, and I would have coughing attacks and wouldn’t be able to go to school. I would cough so much that the teachers sent me home. Sometimes, I would get into fights with my mom because she wouldn’t let me go to basketball practice, but I wanted to go and be with my friends.


Allie, 18


Take a break
Sometimes when I run a lot I have to take a little break, and sometimes my body hurts somewhere.

Lucy, 7


You get used to it
When I had a pet, it was when I didn’t know I had asthma. I didn’t know I had allergies that would make me cough and sneeze. I had a dog, and every day when I came home from school when I stepped my foot in the door I started to sneeze and cough. Then we figured out I couldn’t have a dog for a pet. So my mother got me a fish, so I played with that, but it didn’t do much like a dog or a cat would. It’s very hard, but you get used to it like I did.

Allison, 9


Pretty big pain sometimes
I cannot go anywhere without my inhaler, so that’s a pretty big pain sometimes. I can’t go to places where people smoke (this has gotten better recently with new laws in Massachusetts, but it used to be really difficult if I wanted to go out to eat or to a bar). I have to take three different medications every day. I can’t laugh too much, or climb too many stairs, and there are periods of time when my asthma is so bad I can’t work out at all.

Michelle, 22


Hard away from home
Little things, like not being able to have a pet or build a fire, because they would upset my asthma, as well as always having my parents worry I would have an attack during the night and have to go to the ER. Now it’s mostly under control at home, but it’s hard whenever I’m away from home to feel comfortable.

Michelle, 22


Asthma is frustrating because when you want to go to school, you want to go to work, and you can’t when you’re having difficulty breathing. You have to wait, you have to sit, and you have to take medication for it to subside. It is difficult. It is emotionally and physically draining sometimes. Taking Prednisone is not fun; it causes some side effects. Asthma can definitely been frustrating. It has made me a stronger individual though, I’ll tell you that.


Bridget, 26


Having to sit and wait and struggle to breathe is frustrating
It is frustrating going to the emergency room sometimes. My last emergency room visit I got so frustrated that I almost wrote a letter because I was so upset about my experience. I used to get frustrated because I was like, “Give me this medication” because I know what I need and I know this is what my allergist would prescribe; I’ve had this illness for so long and I’ve been educated on it and my allergist is so wonderful, I know what is going on. Having to sit and wait and struggle to breathe is frustrating. I know and understand that it is their job and that they have to research and figure out the diagnosis. It’s frustrating when you’ve lived with the diagnosis so long though, and you know what it is. My dad has been like, “Bridget, you need to relax because they need to figure this out for themselves. This is their job.” I’m like, “Dad, you don’t understand– I know what I need.”

I went into the emergency room one time, not to put down the doctor that took care of me, but they said, “Take two Tylenol and you’ll be okay, take some Tylenol every so often and you’ll be okay. It’s just the flu.” I started to leave the emergency room and there was a doctor that came up to my mom and who had known me from previous emergency room visits and was like, “She can’t leave. She is barely getting enough air into her.”

I ended up being in the ICU.

Bridget, 26