Tag Archives: asthma portrayal in television and movies

Asthma is Not Funny

Ok, a brief rant…  I am so tired of movies and television shows portraying people with asthma as nerds that get nervous and use an inhaler.  When they decide to become more normal, they throw away their inhaler.  You have probably already brought up that vision from the inundation of images to that effect.  One such scene is in the film Hitch, where the lovable accountant Alfred uses his inhaler when he is scared to take action.  He throws it away and mounts the steps to kiss his girl in passion, no longer having asthma.

The truth is, asthma is a very serious condition which kills.  If a child appears ‘nerdy’ in school as a result, it is because they have to avoid activities that trigger an attack and might kill them.  Using an inhaler more than two puffs twice a day can cause heart attack or stroke.  Anyone constantly using an inhaler in a movie or television show is doing so improperly.  They need to go to their primary care physician or pulmonologist to get their asthma under control.  Movies teach asthma is a mental weakness, psycho-somatic and mis-portray the use of inhalers.  Over use of an inhaler, or throwing one away you need to have can be fatal.

Krissy Taylor, model and sister of model Niki Taylor, died at 17 years of age from asthma.  Not a nerd, not a hypochondriac, a real person with a real disease.

Krissy Taylor, model and sister of model Niki Taylor, died at 17 years of age from asthma. Not a nerd, not a hypochondriac, a real person with a real disease.

Please writers, stop!  If you want to add dimension to a character by giving them a medical condition, get it right.  It is as cliche and as wrong as the ugly girl who just needs to remove her glasses, get a make-over and now she is popular.  It’s poor writing at best, and harmful to asthma sufferers’ psyche and health at worst.

I have asthma and have to use an inhaler from time to time when I cannot breathe.  If you have ever tried to breathe, and every time you take in air you wheeze and don’t get enough oxygen, it is not funny at all.  Here is the real face of an asthma attack:

EMS for a day asthma attack 2

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Filed under Humor and Observations, Writing