Can You Join the Military with Asthma?
Joining the military is a dream for many individuals, but it’s not without its challenges. One of the most commonly asked questions is whether or not having asthma will disqualify you from serving your country. In this article, we will explore the different aspects of joining the military with asthma, including eligibility requirements, personal stories, treatment options, pros and cons, and the military eligibility process.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that having asthma does not necessarily disqualify you from joining the military. In fact, thousands of individuals with asthma serve in various branches of the military each year. However, there are certain requirements that must be met in order to be deemed eligible for service.
The military entrance requirements for asthma stipulate that you cannot have asthma that requires frequent use of inhalers or other medications. Additionally, you must not have had an asthma attack, or been hospitalized for asthma, in the past year. The purpose of these requirements is to ensure that individuals with asthma are able to perform the necessary duties required of a military service member.
Some frequently asked questions related to joining the military with asthma include:
How does having asthma affect enlistment?
Having asthma does not automatically disqualify you from enlisting in the military. However, you will need to meet certain requirements in order to be deemed eligible for service. These requirements are in place to ensure that individuals with asthma are able to perform the physical demands of military service without being hindered by asthma symptoms.
What are the medical requirements for enlisting with asthma?
The medical requirements for enlisting with asthma are outlined by each branch of the military. Generally, you must not require frequent use of inhalers or other medications, and must not have had an asthma attack or been hospitalized for asthma in the past year. Additionally, you may be required to undergo a pulmonary function test to ensure that your asthma is well-controlled.
Are there any accommodations for asthma in the military?
Yes, accommodations can be made for individuals with asthma in the military. For example, if your asthma is triggered by certain environmental factors, such as dust or smoke, you may be assigned to a duty station that does not expose you to these triggers. Additionally, you may be allowed to carry an inhaler with you at all times, and accommodations may be made for your physical fitness tests.
Personal stories from individuals who have either joined the military or were turned away due to their asthma can be insightful for those looking to join the military with asthma. Many individuals have successfully joined the military and gone on to have successful careers, while others were turned away due to their condition.
One individual, John, was turned away from joining the Air Force due to his asthma. Despite being devastated by the news, he didn’t give up on his dream and went on to join the Coast Guard instead. With careful management of his asthma symptoms, John was able to serve for several years and is proud of his service to his country.
Another individual, Elizabeth, successfully joined the Army despite having asthma. She credits her successful military career to diligent management of her asthma symptoms and being upfront with her superiors about her condition. Elizabeth points out that it’s important to have a support system in place, including fellow service members, medical professionals, and family, when dealing with asthma in the military.
While individuals with asthma may face additional challenges when joining the military, there are treatment options available that can help manage symptoms. These options include:
Medications that can help maintain asthma control
Inhaled corticosteroids, such as Advair, Flovent, and Pulmicort, are effective at reducing inflammation in the airways and preventing asthma symptoms. Additionally, short-acting bronchodilators, such as albuterol, can be used as needed to provide quick relief of symptoms.
Lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise
Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise routine can help manage asthma symptoms. Exercise is particularly important for individuals with asthma, as it can help improve lung function and overall fitness.
Breathing exercises and techniques
Practicing breathing exercises and techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing and pursed-lip breathing, can help improve lung function and reduce the severity of asthma symptoms.
Pros and Cons
Like any career, serving in the military comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. For individuals with asthma, there are additional factors to consider. Some potential benefits of serving in the military include:
- Opportunity to serve your country
- Excellent benefits, including healthcare and retirement
- Opportunities for advancement and career development
However, there are potential risks and complications associated with serving in the military with asthma. These include:
- Possible exposure to environmental triggers that can worsen asthma symptoms
- The physical demands of military service may exacerbate asthma symptoms
- Additional stressors associated with military service can impact asthma control
Military Eligibility Process
The military eligibility process is a rigorous evaluation that all potential recruits must undergo. For individuals with asthma, this process can be challenging. To help maximize the chances of passing the eligibility process, it’s important to be upfront and honest about your asthma condition throughout the application process.
During the medical examination, your asthma will be evaluated to ensure that it meets the eligibility requirements. Individuals with well-controlled asthma, who do not require frequent use of inhalers or other medications, are generally able to pass the medical examination. However, those with more severe asthma may be deemed ineligible for service.
It’s important to note that there are different classifications of asthma that can impact eligibility. These include intermittent asthma, mild persistent asthma, moderate persistent asthma, and severe persistent asthma.
Those who are interested in joining the military with asthma should take steps to prepare for the medical examination, including carefully managing their asthma symptoms and getting into the best physical shape possible.
Joining the military with asthma is not without challenges, but it is possible for many individuals with well-controlled asthma. By carefully managing symptoms and being upfront about your condition throughout the application process, you can maximize your chances of passing the medical examination and serving your country with pride.
Additional resources for those looking to join the military with asthma include the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and the Military Health System.