How Is Occupational Asthma Diagnosed
As soon as you notice symptoms, see your GP.
Occupational asthma is confirmed or ruled out after a consultation with your GP. You will discuss your symptoms, when you get them, your work, and medical history. You may also need some tests.
Questions your GP may ask you
Before you go, think about your answers to these questions. It will help you and your GP work out if you have occupational asthma or not.
- Did your asthma symptoms start as an adult?
- Have your childhood asthma symptoms come back since you started working?
- Do your symptoms get better on days youre not at work or when youre on holiday?
- Do your symptoms get worse after work or disturb your sleep after a work day?
- Do you have a history of allergies which could increase your risk of allergies at work?
- Do you smoke, which increases your risk of being sensitive to work triggers?
- Do you have rhinitis? Occupational rhinitis is an early warning sign for occupational asthma.
Tests to help confirm a diagnosis
If your GP thinks occupational asthma is a possibility, they may suggest tests to confirm a diagnosis.
Peak flow. Your GP may ask you to use a peak flow meter, and keep a peak flow diary, so they can look at your peak flow scores – both at work and at home. For this to be useful, youll need to do four readings a day, for about three weeks.
Blood tests or skin prick tests. These are to confirm any allergies. If your symptoms are triggered by irritants, rather than allergens, this wont show up in an allergy test.
You Cant Have Flat Feet
Though this is one of the most widely argued-about conditions that can bar you from the military, the answer is yes it is real. While someone who has flat feet can serve in the military, it depends on the severity. If someone has symptomatic flat feet, which indicates that the condition causes the person chronic physical pain, then he or she cannot serve.
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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How Can I Avoid Losing My Job If I Get Occupational Asthma
Some people who develop occupational asthma need a change of job role where they work, or even to change jobs altogether.
Its understandable to be worried about losing your job, or income, if your job role changes due to a diagnosis of occupational asthma.
But try not to let financial or employment fears hold you back from getting help with your symptoms, and confirming a diagnosis.
Talk to your employer, or your occupational health doctor or nurse if you have one, as soon as you notice symptoms. If you have a union representative, they may be able to support you.
There may be things you can do to prevent you losing your job altogether. For example:
- moving you to a different role so youre not exposed to problem triggers
- replacing any products or substances triggering your asthma with safe alternatives
- providing you with PPE such as masks, so you can avoid inhaling the irritating substances or vapours.
Compensation And Benefits For Occupational Asthma
If youre told that your asthma has been caused by your job, you should get advice quickly both about compensation and about benefits you may be entitled to.
Its important to claim your benefit as soon as possible. Payments will only start from the day you claim, not the day you found out you had occupational asthma.
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When Could Asthma Be A Problem In Military Service
Yes, if you read older resources. In the past, it was practically impossible to enlist if you had ever shown any signs of asthma, similarly to other conditions like inflammatory bowel diseases or hearing loss. However, unlike these conditions, asthma is generally not a lifelong condition and many individuals grow out of it.
People very rarely grow out of the symptoms of Crohns disease or deafness, so their hopes of joining the military are unlikely to be successful. As such, asthma is not as much of a stumbling block as it once was. As of 2004, recruits who have not shown symptoms since their 13th birthday are not considered to have asthma by military recruitment standards.
In terms of active service, there are multiple situations where an asthmatic soldier might be a problem for his unit. Recent deployments for American soldiers have been too hostile environments dry, hot, and dusty. We also live in a world where weaponry such as smoke bombs and tear gas canisters can be encountered in a warm environment.
These weapons can cause significant breathing issues for asthmatics, so it is not a safe environment for that individual or their unit. Think about it if you start to have an asthma attack in an active engagement, you may not be able to administer your medicine and another member of your team will be pulled out of position.
Miscellaneous Conditions Of The Extremities
The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:
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.
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.
k. Osteomyelitis, active or recurrent.
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Can I Join The Army With Asthma
Another of the most common questions we get is Can I Join the Army with Asthma?. This article answers that question and outlines why asthma may keep you from joining the U.S. Army.
When a person joins the Army, medical history is part of the enlistment process. In addition to providing a detailed medical history, the recruit must also undergo a thorough medical exam by a physician at MEPS .
There are multiple conditions that can disqualify someone from Army service. In the past, it was virtually impossible to serve in the Army if there had been a previous diagnosis of asthma. Asthma is one of those conditions that can be fatal in basic training so those individuals that are not clear cut are not given a waiver. If you have asthma, you are PDQ, no waiver authorized. PDQ stands for Permanently Disqualified for military service.
While current asthma cases are generally not allowed, there have been more leniencies granted towards those who suffered from asthma in the past but are no longer afflicted with the condition.
If the recruit has not had any asthma symptoms or been treated for asthma beyond his 13th birthday, he is generally considered not to have asthma by Army recruitment standards. He will be allowed to join through an enlistment process that is the same as it is for someone who has never had asthma.
The results of a pulmonary function test may also be used in making the decision about a waiver. Any required testing will be provided at no expense to the recruit.
Neurotic Anxiety Mood Somatoform Dissociative Or Factitious Disorders
The causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment and induction are a history of such disorders resulting in any or all of the below:
a. Admission to a hospital or residential facility.
b. Care by a physician or other mental health professional for more than six months.
c. Symptoms or behavior of a repeated nature that impaired social, school or work efficiency.
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Do Not Lie On Your Application
Lastly, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT lie on your enlistment paperwork about medical conditions. This is a federal crime and can turn into much more of a headache than anyone is willing to deal with. There is not a statute of limitations on fraudulent enlistment especially if you are still serving. Also, lying on your medical documentation prevents medical experts from monitoring your conditions and treating you properly in the future should something happen.
Personality Conduct And Behavior Disorders
The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:
a. Personality, conduct or behavior disorders as evidenced by frequent encounters with law enforcement agencies, antisocial attitudes or behavior, which, while not sufficient cause for administrative rejection, are tangible evidence of impaired capacity to adapt to military service.
b. Personality, conduct or behavior disorders where it is evident by history, interview or psychological testing that the degree of immaturity, instability, personality inadequacy, impulsiveness or dependency will seriously interfere with adjustment in the Army as demonstrated by repeated inability to maintain reasonable adjustment in school, with employers and fellow workers, and with other social groups.
c. Other behavior disorders including but not limited to conditions such as authenticated evidence of functional enuresis or encopresis, sleepwalking or eating disorders that are habitual or persistent occurring beyond age 12, or stammering of such a degree that the individual is normally unable to express themselves clearly or to repeat commands.
d. Specific academic skills defects, chronic history of academic skills or perceptual defects, secondary to organic or functional mental disorders that interfere with work or school after age 12. Current use of medication to improve or maintain academic skills.
e. Suicide, history of attempted or suicidal behavior.
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Endocrine And Metabolic Disorders
The following conditions may disqualify you from military service:
a. Adrenal dysfunction of any degree.
b. Diabetes mellitus of any type.
c. Glycosuria. Persistent, when associated with impaired glucose tolerance or renal tubular defects.
d. Acromegaly. Gigantism or other disorder of pituitary function.
Goiter, persistent or untreated.
Hypothyroidism, uncontrolled by medication.
i. Nutritional deficiency diseases. Such diseases include beriberi, pellagra and scurvy.
j. Other endocrine or metabolic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, porphyria and amyloidosis that obviously prevent satisfactory performance of duty or require frequent or prolonged treatment.
Which Medicines Are Available To Treat Asthma
Medications to treat asthma can be divided into three groups:
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Can You Get A Medical Waiver For Asthma
So now lets answer your question is your journey over, or can you possibly join the military with asthma? The answer is: it depends.
The military normally does not allow individuals who currently have asthma to join. However, there can be waivers for those who had asthma in their youth, provided it is still not present when they apply to join the military.
Now your situation is unique. You mentioned you had asthma as a youth, but havent had any issues since then. However, the doctor who recently examined you stated you still have asthma, but that it shouldnt be a problem for military service.
Therein lies the problem: the doctor recommended you as fit for service, and MEPS sent your examination and waiver application to the Surgeon Generals office, where the Surgeon General denied the waiver application.
Obviously they saw something they didnt like, or something that went against military medical standards for applicants. You can familiarize yourself with the DODI, or Department of Defense Instruction for Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Military Services for a better understanding of which medical conditions are excluded from entry to the military, and which are eligible for waivers . This makes for dense reading, but arming yourself with this knowledge is essential if you want to keep trying to join the Air Force.
Navys Policy On Asthma In 2019
OMK spoke with Officer Mendoza, a Navy recruiter stationed in Atlanta, Georgia, about the Navys policy on Asthma.
Heres what he had to say:
Its definitely possible to get in the Navy if you were previously diagnosed, but it can be very difficult. For starters, if you currently have asthma, its not going to work out.
The military has a very strict policy on this if you are currently being treated for asthma, then you will not be able to serve.
In addition, any history of Asthma after the age of 13 will require a waiver.
The waiver process will happen at your Military Entrance Processing Station, or MEPS.
Before enlisting, youll be required to perform whats known as a pulmonary function test, or PFT.
A PFT is essentially a noninvasive test that shows how well your lungs work.
If you can pass this test, you can join the Navy.
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How Do I Get A Waiver For Asthma
The best way to obtain a waiver is to go through the appropriate channels and get it from the doctor who performs the medical. Before you get excited, if you still suffer seriously from asthma, you are unlikely to pass the medical regardless of how much you want it or are otherwise capable.
If the Military Entrance Processing Station decides that your condition is too severe to serve active duty, there wont be much you can do about it for that specific branch of the military. If you can convince the Surgeon General that you are not as sick as it appears from your medical records, it may be possible that you will get a chance.
However, he is a medical professional, not you. The military will not likely take kindly to you challenging the word of their top doctors without a very good reason.
Allergies And Coeliac Disease
Significant food or other allergies are a limiting factor to entry.
While coeliac disease is manageable day-to-day within New Zealand, in certain situations there may be limited dietary options for a prolonged period. In such situations there is a risk of complications ranging from gastrointestinal symptoms to nutritional deficiency. This has potential implications not only for the individual, but also those around them. The Defence Force has an obligation to minimise risk to the individual and the organisation wherever possible, and accordingly if you have coeliac disease you may not be admitted entry to the Defence Force.
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How Do I Recognise If I Have Asthma
The most common symptoms of asthma are:
- Activities are limited by coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or cough.
As asthma is a variable condition, symptoms may vary depending on the time of day and from season to season. Not everyone with asthma will experience all of the symptoms described above. Everyones asthma is different and triggers for asthma vary between asthmatics. Apart from asthma, there are also other causes for persistent coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness or wheeze. So if you experience these symptoms it is important that you make an appointment to see your doctor for advice.