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Can You Get A Waiver For Asthma In The Military

Asthma Reports From Other Countries

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Sears et al determined that persistence or relapse of asthma among New Zealand children were associated with sensitization to house dust mite antigen, presence of airway hyperresponsiveness, current cigarette smoking and early age of asthma onset. Asthma relapses were common among ex-asthmatics showing persistent respiratory symptomatology. Asymptomatic airway hyperresponsiveness may be a feature of some cases of quiescent asthma that enter the military.

According to Taylor et al, who followed New Zealand children over time, 35% had asthma in remission at 18 years of age but relapsed by 21 or 26 years of age. Totally, new adult asthma developed by 26 years of age in 9% of study members who reportedly had no asthma or wheezing at any time up to 18 years of age.

In a 1988 study by the British Army, 6.3% of annual medical discharges were attributed to asthma. About 43% of 108 discharged soldiers were ultimately shown to have a history of asthma in childhood. Nearly 30% of military service persons discharged because of asthma denied having asthma in childhood.

In an Australian population, undiagnosed asthma was common and had a similar clinical spectrum as individuals with diagnosed asthma. Service in combat units tended to unmask previously mild cases of asthma that were not disabling and induced asthma in subjects who had never suffered from the disease. It was recommended that candidates with a history of asthma should not be accepted before the age of 22 years.

You Need To Take Care Of Your Teeth

Your dental health is very important when joining the military you cant have too many cavities. According to the International Classification of Disease code, any dental issue that interferes with a normal diet, or includes complex dental implant systems with complications will disqualify you from service. Having braces can also temporarily disqualify you, also.

Can I Join The Army With Tattoos Are There Restrictions

Yes, you can join with tattoos, as long as they are not visible above your collar or below your cuff. The Army does not typically accept individuals with tattoos on their hands, wrists, face, or neck. Tattoos anywhere above the neckline or on the head, including in the mouth, ears, or eyelids, disqualifies a candidate. A tattoo waiver is available for candidates who have disqualifying tattoos. However, tattoos that are extremist, racist, sexist, or indecent are prohibited anywhere on a Soldiers body, without exception.

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Can Active Duty Members Work Part

About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Featured In: Ryan’s writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes,, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine , Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.

Surprising Medical Conditions That Will Disqualify You From Military Service

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A medical waiver may be in the cards.

BySarah Sicard | Updated Jul 19, 2021 3:31 PM

In order to join the military, you need to qualify medically. And while there are some obvious stipulations, like the fact that you cant be carrying diseases that will endanger your platoon, there are other disqualifying conditions that might surprise you.

All the disqualifying diseases, disorders, and conditions adopted by the U.S. military are listed within the International Classification of Disease code, under the United Nations World Health Organization.

Task & Purpose reached out to Lt. Michele Stein, a Navy recruiter, who shared some lesser-known medical conditions, and in some cases, ways you can get around them. In addition, Stein also asked around her station in Tucson, Arizona, for crazy, surprising medical disqualification stories. We compiled our favorites, and here are six unusual conditions that can keep you from joining the military.

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Coast Guard Asthma Policy For 2019

OMK spoke with Petty Officer Devoir, a Coast Guard recruiter stationed in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

Heres what he had to say regarding the Coast Guards policy on asthma:

With the Coast Guard, if youre taking any asthma medications it is a disqualifier.

In the Coast Guard, the service person must have spirometer test, and the recruit must get doctors consultation.

The recruit will not be able to do strenuous jobs.

Well update the Coast Guards asthma policy regularly to reflect any changes.

What Course Of Action Do You Have

If your medical evaluations were correct, then it may not be possible to get a waiver. There is no appeal for the Surgeon Generals decision. Their office is where they hear your appeal .

Was there a misdiagnosis? You would have a case if there was a misdiagnosis by the doctor who most recently examined you. This is shaky ground, because you would essentially be arguing the doctor was incorrect. However, since the doctor stated you were fit for service, it may be possible that what was diagnosed as a mild case of asthma could have been something else. So you could potentially visit another doctor for another exam. This would be your financial responsibility, so be sure you are willing to pay for another medical examination.

You would need to get a statement from the new doctor on their letterhead that states you do not have any traces of asthma and that in the doctors opinion, you are fit to serve in the military. Then you could submit that document, along with your other medical paperwork, to your recruiter, who can then submit it to MEPS. Make sure you continue using the same recruiter, as you dont want to have multiple applications at the same time .

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Armys Asthma Policy For 2019

Things arent much easier if youre considering joining the Army.

Just like with the Navy, if you currently are being treated for asthma, its grounds for immediate disqualification from Army service.

However, if you havent had any Asthma symptoms past the age of 13, youre good to go.

If you have had Asthma past the age of 13, but do not currently have Asthma, you can still get in with a waiver.

The waiver process is similar to that of that Navy and requires you to take a Pulmonary Function Test.

In addition, your complete medical history regarding your Asthma will be examined, as well as your current condition.

OMK spoke with Sergeant Hewitt, an Army recruiter stationed out of Atlanta, GA, to get a more concrete answer on what would happen if you were diagnosed with Asthma while serving.

Heres what he had to say:

If you develop Asthma while serving in the Army, the soldier will be sent to the doctor for a full checkup.

A PFT will be conducted, and the doctor would make a recommendation to the Army as to your status.

How Do You Get Discharged From The Air Force

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In order to qualify for separation under this provision, the hardship must not be of a temporary nature must have developed or become increasingly worse since entry on active duty discharge or release from active duty is the only readily available means of alleviation and the individual must have made reasonable

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Is It Worth Pursuing A Military Career If I Have Adhd

It is easy for applicants with ADHD who want to serve in the military to feel discouraged by these guidelines. Its important to remember, though, that recruiters do take an interest in helping applicants, especially those who advocate for themselves.

Recruiters want to, and will, work with applicants to determine their best fit in a specific branch. Recruiters can spend hours interviewing and taking questions from a single applicant. Many engage in non-binding dialogue to gauge an applicants eligibility before asking them commit to any processes or formally submit documentation.

Some recruiters, for example, are known to have applicants fill out a slightly modified version of the medical pre-screening report one that will stay between the recruiter and candidate prior to filling out the official version of the report. The recruiter may explain to an applicant that reviewing the modified questionnaire lets them to gauge whether a candidates medical history requires more documentation, and allows applicants to decide if they have the time and willingness to proceed should any red flags appear.

Hopeful service members must conduct their own research prior to joining, which means speaking to a doctor about the plan for and ramifications of getting off medication, and finding a branch and career that accommodates and accentuates strengths while minimizing weaknesses.

Dont ever stop fighting to get in if thats what you want to do, he said.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is also an anxiety problem.

The disorder causes persistent mental or emotional stress which is usually a result of some form of trauma.

Unfortunately, PTSD is a common mental illness that gets diagnosed to patients who previously served in the military.

While it is rarer for people to try and join the military with PTSD it is not completely abnormal.

Unfortunately, the military considers PTSD a disqualifying mental health condition.

If youve been diagnosed with PTSD you likely wont receive a waiver.

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Applying For A Medical Waiver Get Familiar With The Dodi

Once your 2807-2 has been rejected by MEPS and you have been given a PDQ, you can start the process of applying for a medical waiver . Not all medical conditions are eligible for a medical waiver.

To get a head start on the waiver process, you should get familiar with the DODI , also known as the DoDI 6130.03 . This is the official document used by MEPS doctors to determine medical eligibility for military applicants.

If you received a PDQ, it should include a PULHES Code, or PULHES Factor, which is a standardized medical code used to rate your physical condition. You can use these codes to look up your condition in the DODI to see if the condition are waiverable.

Important: This is where you need to step up and do some research. Most recruiters dont have the time to hold your hand through the application process. Spending time on your end will make it easier for your recruiter to work with you to help you get a waiver. Remember, each recruiter is different, and most are willing to work with you if you are willing to work with them. And helping them with their job shows you are dedicated and motivated to join the military.

Unfortunately, not all medical conditions are waiverable

Considerations Unique To The Military

Can You Join The Military With Asthma? Yes, But There

Active-duty personnel present unique challenges in the diagnosis and management of asthma. Service members should be questioned thoroughly on deployment and exposure history. A significant portion of the current military population has deployed to SWA in the past decade, many for multiple deployments. Research addressing respiratory complaints in the deployed military population is ongoing. To date, military research has demonstrated that while many service members with deployment-related respiratory exposures have a paucity of objective findings after pulmonary medicine evaluation, some demonstrate functional limitations consistent with asthma or airway hyperresponsivenesss. Further retrospective studies did not find a relationship between deployment and diagnosis rates or severity in asthma patients in the Army. A comprehensive evaluation is recommended for service members with dyspnea to include investigating for potential asthma- or exercise-induced bronchospasm, in addition to diagnoses such as vocal cord dysfunction, GERD, and OSA.

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What Services Are Available For Asthma In The Military

Because asthma and related respiratory problems can worsen over time, its important that military servicemembers obtain a thorough evaluation of their health in order to help get treatment to control symptoms, even if youre already in the military.

As with signs of any medical condition during military service, asthma symptoms should also be taken seriously. Every effort should be made to determine whether an individual can continue with military service in order to avoid unnecessary risk to their own life or to the lives of others who serve with them.

Medical research supports the involvement of people with asthma in the military with basic treatment for symptoms.

Research from 2015 in Federal Practitioner suggests that most service members with asthma can remain on active duty when management with inhaled therapies that allows them to meet standards and perform required duties.

Researchers involved in this 2015 study also suggest that an asthma diagnosis should be given along with the following tests to confirm the accuracy of the diagnosis:

  • how strongly the airways react to asthma triggers
  • how the heart behaves during asthma diagnosis tests

You may have a greater chance of receiving a waiver if:

  • you are currently being treated for asthma
  • your symptoms appear to be well controlled
  • your symptoms are relatively mild

Poorly controlled symptoms are likely to lead to a waiver disapproval and disqualification from joining the military.

Adhd And The Military

Can Individuals with ADHD Join the Military

Finding accurate information about whether or not individuals with ADHD can serve in the military is a challenge. CHADD and the NRC often receive questions from parents or teenagers who want to know whether a diagnosis of ADHD or taking medication to treat ADHD disqualifies someone from entering the military service. This challenge is compounded by the fact that military recruiters who have monthly recruitment quotas they must meet, often give incomplete, contradictory, or inaccurate information.

So, the simple answer to this question is maybe.

Enlistment in the military is a multi-faceted process and there are numerous eligibility criteria which a potential soldier, sailor, airman, or marine must meet. These criteria fall into two main categories: skills and aptitude for military service and physical standards for military service. These criteria are evaluated at the Military Entrance and Processing Station when an applicant seeks to enter the military.


Each enlistee must take and pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery . This timed test, for which no accommodations are permitted, measures aptitude in eight critical areas: general science, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, auto and shop information, mathematics knowledge, mechanical comprehension, and electronics information.

Physical Standards

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Miscellaneous Conditions Of The Extremities

The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:

a. Arthritis.

Active, subacute or chronic arthritis.

Chronic osteoarthritis or traumatic arthritis of isolated joints of more than a minimal degree, which has interfered with the following of a physically active vocation in civilian life or that prevents the satisfactory performance of military duty.

b. Chronic Retropatellar Knee Pain Syndrome with or without confirmatory arthroscopic evaluation.

c. Dislocation if unreduced, or recurrent dislocations of any major joint such as shoulder, hip, elbow or knee or instability of any major joint such as shoulder, elbow or hip.

d. Fractures.

Malunion or non-union of any fracture, except ulnar styloid process.

Orthopedic hardware, including plates, pins, rods, wires or screws used for fixation and left in place except that a pin, wire or screw not subject to easy trauma is not disqualifying.

e. Injury of a bone or joint of more than a minor nature, with or without fracture or dislocation, that occurred within the preceding six weeks: upper extremity, lower extremity, ribs and clavicle.

f. Joint replacement.

g. Muscular paralysis, contracture or atrophy, if progressive or of sufficient degree to interfere with military service and muscular dystrophies.

h. Osteochondritis dissecans.

i. Osteochondromatosis or multiple cartilaginous exostoses.

j. Osteoporosis.

k. Osteomyelitis, active or recurrent.

Military Requirements With Asthma

What could disqualify you from joining Army or even the military

If you hope to enlist in the military and have been diagnosed with conditions of chronic asthma, including reactive airway disease, exercise-induced bronchospasms, or asthmatic bronchitis, you will be disqualified from joining. If you have a mild case of asthma, the examining physician will determine if the condition poses a risk to you and those you serve with. Additional tests may be ordered to determine the severity of your condition. A medical military waiver may also be an option.

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Asthma can cause a sudden tightness in your chest and inflammation, which narrow your airways causing a chain reaction of wheezing, coughing, and shortness or loss of breath to the extent that it becomes life threatening. The Military Standards of Medical Fitness states that if you have chronic asthma and have had it for most of your life, then you will be disqualified from joining. The standards are clear-cut and closely followed.


Results and Record Review

Medical Waiver

Diagnostic Determination

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Can You Join The Military With Asthma

This is a great question, and somewhat common. Many people experience asthma in their youth, and eventually grow out of it. The military makes concessions for applicants who had asthma in their youth, and will often grant waivers if the asthmatic conditions ceased or no longer required medication after a certain age.

But the military is less forgiving when the applicant still has asthma or requires any asthma medications. Why? To put it in simple terms: asthma can place the individual and others in harms way if the individual is deployed to certain environments or is exposed to certain chemicals or conditions.

Military members frequently work around austere environments, in hot, dry, and dusty conditions around various solvents, chemicals, and exhaust in hot and humid conditions and in other environments that can cause an asthma episode to flare up. Having an asthma attack at the wrong time can place the individual, and in some cases, the entire unit in danger.

Think, for a moment, about someone having an asthma attack when they are the only qualified individual for a certain job. Not only does that unit lose the qualified person, but someone else is pulled from their job to assist the other person. This can become magnified if the unit is out in the field, in the line of fire, if there are no medical facilities nearby, etc. I think you get the point.

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