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Asthma (and waiver) info


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Guest doctidy
Originally posted by brabus:

Keep in mind, you did your DODMERB what, 4-5 yrs ago? If you had one arm, one leg and could add 2 and 2, you were in ROTC w/ a scholarship. Heck back when we were freshman, you could get a couple MIPs and no one gave a shit. Now you don't shave before coming to PT, you get the boot. Saying you had asthma wasn't such a big deal 4 years ago, now it's almost (note that I said almost) a guaranteed deal breaker.

Nope. Its a DoDI (Department of Defense Instruction) that says asthma only after age 12 is disqualifying. Brabus...no offense...people do have the perception that is the way it is. This forum is about getting out the facts. Is my info accurate...I just sat thru the DoDMERB Surgeon's Conference...you bet it is.
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The asthma issue has been a moving target for over 20 years...prior to 1985, you were DQ (for enlistment/commission) if you had verified hx of asthma after the age of 12...1985 to the early 90's they came up with "intrinsic" (vs extrinsic) asthma being a show stopper...I had to review hundreds of active duty medical records to identify who on our base had this elusive diagnosis...any found were MEB'd...after the Gulf War (based on many asthma/related problems in the desert) it was deemed that any verified hx of asthma, from birth to present, was disqualifying...now we have come full circle...any asthma after the age of 12...so, if you haven't had it since your 12th birthday...as Rage has just verified...don't worry about it and get while the gettin' is good!...IMHO.

Good luck

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  • 1 month later...

I don't know much about how asthma is disgnosed, but a friend apparently has a mild case. He has never had an attack and has never used an inhaler. He played football in high school and rugby in college. He also runs regularly and has never had a problem. I think he was disagnosed in high school (not sure by what means), so that would be after he was 12 years old. Does this DQ him for AF flying? What about non-flying AF jobs?

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Good to hear from Rage that it is in fact after 12. That's just weird then about a couple people's cases I knew...but, guess there was some other circumstances.

JS - As far as I can tell from what Rage and P27 have said, he would be DQ'd from flying (unless he could get a waiver), but would still be able to commission (i.e. non-flying job). Is that correct Rage, P27?

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Asthma is a tricky issue...especially when you hear "never had an attack...never used an inhaler". It would be interesting to see the circumstances surrounding the diagnosis of your friend JR. I have seen cases with suspect or minimal asthma history after age 12 get waivers for both commission and flying. So until your friend actually starts the process (have him get ALL the medical records pertaining to asthma) there is no telling what the outcome will be.

Let me know if there are any other questions.

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  • 4 months later...

If a cadet had symptoms of Allergies/Asthma in his late teen years, but no longer has any symptoms, is not on any medication, and the allergist/asthma doctor states in writing that the cadet no longer has asthma or allergies, what are the chances for disqualification and than for a waiver?

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A verified history of asthma past age 13 is going to be disqualified and is most likely not going to be waived waived for flying...

It can get waived for other AFSC's? What exactly constitutes a verified history of asthma? How much to doctor statements persude dodmerb?

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Don't give up! I had asthma in my record after the age of 13, got a waiver, and head to UPT in Oct. I had to prove I didn't have asthma and that the doc misdiagnosed me by taking the methacholine challenge test and submitting the results to DoDMERB. Once the waiver was granted to commission it never played a factor again in passing my flying class I or in my selection to UPT. It's in my record, but is just listed as a wiaver. Feel free to PM me with more of your details if you need help.

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Don't give up! I had asthma in my record after the age of 13, got a waiver, and head to UPT in Oct. I had to prove I didn't have asthma and that the doc misdiagnosed me by taking the methacholine challenge test and submitting the results to DoDMERB. Once the waiver was granted to commission it never played a factor again in passing my flying class I or in my selection to UPT. It's in my record, but is just listed as a wiaver. Feel free to PM me with more of your details if you need help.

Very similar to me. However this happened a little later in my life (teenage years) and although I was initially treated for asthma, the doctors say now that I never had it and instead just had seasonal allergies. Now today, I have no sign of either condition. However, on those medical records when I was 16 or so, "asthma" is written on a few pages.

Thanks for the offer and I will PM you.

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Very similar to me. However this happened a little later in my life (teenage years) and although I was initially treated for asthma, the doctors say now that I never had it and instead just had seasonal allergies. Now today, I have no sign of either condition. However, on those medical records when I was 16 or so, "asthma" is written on a few pages.

Thanks for the offer and I will PM you.

Doctor's letters are good, but the AF won't care about them unless you take the MCT and pass it. 16 should not be a factor if it was not asthma and just seasonal allergies. You'll still need the test to prove your case though.

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Doctor's letters are good, but the AF won't care about them unless you take the MCT and pass it. 16 should not be a factor if it was not asthma and just seasonal allergies. You'll still need the test to prove your case though.

Test will not be a problem as, as I took one BEFORE she wrote the letter to prove I was ok. I guess I will send the stuff to DODMERB and wait for the reply. Correct me if I am wrong, but when initially DQ'd I automatically get to petition for a waiver?

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Asthma is non-waiverable, but if you don't have asthma then the history can be waived. All you have to do it prove it to DoDMERB. I'd put together all your letters, offical records, and test results into a package with a cover letter explaining your situtation. Submit the package to DoDMERB through your Det/CC. It'll carry more weight that way.

Edited by flyaf05
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Don't give up! I had asthma in my record after the age of 13, got a waiver, and head to UPT in Oct. I had to prove I didn't have asthma and that the doc misdiagnosed me by taking the methacholine challenge test and submitting the results to DoDMERB. Once the waiver was granted to commission it never played a factor again in passing my flying class I or in my selection to UPT. It's in my record, but is just listed as a wiaver. Feel free to PM me with more of your details if you need help.

Correct me if I am wrong, but regardless of what your medical records say you can get the asthma DQ waived if you pass a methacholine?

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So I'm assuming that a prescription for something like Allegra at age 13 will hold you back? Or can it be waved?

ANOTHER thing. How about allergy shots? At my Doctors office they have the ones where you only have to do it once a year and your good. Around here its pretty much impossible to NOT be allergic to all the plants and animals...

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I don't know about the Allegra or allergy shots. This post has just been dealing with Asthma which will DQ you after the age of 13. Allegies are not disqualifying in themselves. I'd consult AFI 48-123 which is the medical reg.

If you pass the methacholine test then you don't have asthma and you can fight for the waiver on the grounds of a misdiagnosis. It's not an automatic thing, but instead something that will take a bit of effort on your part.

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Guest Rage_:P
Correct me if I am wrong, but regardless of what your medical records say you can get the asthma DQ waived if you pass a methacholine?

Not correct.

There are people with normal methacholine challenges with asthma and some w/ abnormal w/o. The best indicator is history. History or lack thereof of continued diagnosis or medication use.

I don't know about the Allegra or allergy shots. This post has just been dealing with Asthma which will DQ you after the age of 13. Allegies are not disqualifying in themselves. I'd consult AFI 48-123 which is the medical reg.

If you pass the methacholine test then you don't have asthma and you can fight for the waiver on the grounds of a misdiagnosis. It's not an automatic thing, but instead something that will take a bit of effort on your part.

NOT :nob:

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Not correct.

There are people with normal methacholine challenges with asthma and some w/ abnormal w/o. The best indicator is history. History or lack thereof of continued diagnosis or medication use.

NOT :nob:

So two doctors letters saying I do not have asthma and that I do not take any medications is good?

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Guest Rage_:P
So two doctors letters saying I do not have asthma and that I do not take any medications is good?

All I'm saying is...its all about the history.

If you've been using asthma medication for 5 years, getting prescription refills, and now have 2, 5, whatever doctors saying you don't have asthma...they are going to point to the history and say, "so explain the need for medication."

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All I'm saying is...its all about the history.

If you've been using asthma medication for 5 years, getting prescription refills, and now have 2, 5, whatever doctors saying you don't have asthma...they are going to point to the history and say, "so explain the need for medication."

Asthma medicines also treat allergy symptoms, correct? For example, Singulair can be perscribed for both allergies and asthma? Would that be bad to have taken Singulair?

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  • 7 months later...
Guest Ward104

I have read through some of these threads and decided this would be the best to post my question; I have noticed as of this winter that when I jog or do any strenuous activity when its cold (50deg or below) I experience some slight breathing problems. Nothing real bad, however my breathing is not near as controlled as compared to a warmer day, as my chest seems to tighten up a little and I tend to cough a bit after a long run in the cold. In warm weather, I can run forever without any complications. I have never been diagnosed with asthma or treated for asthma, and have never had allergies at all (other than the "common cold" maybe once a year). My question is, could this be a sign of something that could hurt my chances of getting a pilot slot?

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  • 5 years later...

I'm currently on active duty and started the process for my initial FC3 a couple months ago before PCSing to my new job (a non-rated flying position). Passed all the tests/labs/etc but it looks like I'll need a waiver for history of asthma.

This isn't the first time the issue has come up. I dealt with it for my DODMERB like six years ago when I was starting ROTC. They initially DQ'd me for the same thing. So I did the methacholine test and gave them records of all prescriptions filled at my local pharmacy between ages 6-18. After that, they were satisfied that I have normal lung function and wasn't on asthma meds after age 12, so DODMERB overturned the DQ and said I was good to go.

Now, years later, when flight med screened my old records they saw the original DODMERB paperwork where I disclosed a history of asthma. I'm hoping that I can just give the waiver authorities those same records/test results that convinced DODMERB I didn't have asthma after 12. Is that likely to satisfy the requirements for a waiver? Or are they not going to care what DODMERB said, and make me do everything from scratch and get records from my childhood doctors and a new methacholine test? I still have copies of all the stuff I gave to DODMERB, but I'm wondering if there's anything else I should start getting ahold of in order to help in the waiver process.

I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks!

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Read the Asthma entry in the AIrcrew Waiver Guide linked in my signature. Waiver is almost a certainty, however how you get to that point might be short or long. Essentially, you probably don't need additional exams, however the specifics/severity of your own history, the opinion of your Flight Surgeon, the opinion of the approval authority might make you do additional exams. Childhood/adolescent asthma puts you at a higher chance of recurrence in your 30's. You'll probably need another Pulm consult to document a PFT w/ and w/o methacholine challenge, but maybe not. That's all my own speculation. Be proactive and you'll be fine.

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Read the Asthma entry in the AIrcrew Waiver Guide linked in my signature. Waiver is almost a certainty, however how you get to that point might be short or long. Essentially, you probably don't need additional exams, however the specifics/severity of your own history, the opinion of your Flight Surgeon, the opinion of the approval authority might make you do additional exams. Childhood/adolescent asthma puts you at a higher chance of recurrence in your 30's. You'll probably need another Pulm consult to document a PFT w/ and w/o methacholine challenge, but maybe not. That's all my own speculation. Be proactive and you'll be fine.

That's exactly what I needed to know. Thank you.

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