Can you join the military with Asthma? This is a very popular question, and considering the potential trainees, this article has been created!
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that makes it difficult for people to get air in and out of the lungs.
One in 13 people have asthma and are often diagnosed in their youth before they have the opportunity to join certain careers including the military.
If you have asthma and are considering joining one of the military branches, here is the information you need.
So can you join the military with asthma?
In almost all cases, if you currently have asthma, you will not be able to join the Military, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard. If you have or were diagnosed with asthma after age 13, you may still be able to enlist with an exemption. Before officially enlisting in any of the military branches, you will undergo what’s known as a pulmonary function test, or PFT. This test will determine the extent of your asthma and whether it is a disqualifying condition.
Navy Policy on Asthma
OMK spoke with Officer Mendoza, a Navy recruiter stationed in Atlanta, Georgia, about the Navy’s policy on asthma.
This is what he had to say:
- It is possible to enter the Navy if you have been previously diagnosed, but it can be very difficult. For starters, if you currently have asthma, it is not going to work.
- The army has a very strict policy on this; If you are currently being treated for asthma, it will not help.
- Also, any history of asthma after age 13 will require an exemption.
- The exemption process will take place at your Military Entry Processing Station, or MEPS.
- Before enlisting, you will be asked to take what is known as a pulmonary function test or PFT.
- A PFT is essentially a non-invasive test that shows how well your lungs are working. (Source)
If you can pass this test, you can join the Navy.
What if you currently run ads?
According to Recruiter Mendoza, if you are found to have asthma while on duty, you will be discharged.
With that said, someone contacted us and said that this is not necessarily true.
Check out what he had to say below:
- “I would like to talk about the Navy that discharged you for being diagnosed with asthma while currently serving – this is simply not true.
- I have enlisted for 10 years and am looking forward to 20+ years of enlistment right now.
- I was officially diagnosed with asthma earlier this year, and discharge was never discussed, except when I said that I don’t want this diagnosis to cause me to be discharged from the service.
- They are treating me with a single daily pill and an inhaler to use before physical exercise and also as needed.
- They will not discharge me because I was diagnosed with asthma ”.
– DBoydstun, comment left on August 1, 2019
The biggest concerns would be for anyone thinking of becoming a naval aviator (pilot), submarine, diver, or firefighter.
Navy policy is pretty straightforward on this too; Any history of asthma (at any age, even before age 13), including childhood asthma and exercise-induced asthma, is considered disqualifying for aviation duties and training.
This includes even very mild asthma.
For all other fees (jobs), the recruit will perform a series of physical tests during MEPS.
If your doctor expects you have asthma, you will be referred to a specialist.
Also Check: Logistics Manager (Operations)
Army Asthma Policy
Things are not much easier if you want to join the military.
As with the Navy, if you are currently being treated for asthma, it is grounds for immediate disqualification from military service.
However, if you haven’t had any asthma symptoms after age 13, you’re good to go.
If you’ve had asthma after age 13, but don’t currently have asthma, you can still enter with an exemption.
The exemption process is similar to that of that Navy and requires a lung function test to be performed.
Also, your complete medical history regarding your asthma, as well as your current condition, will be examined.
OMK spoke with Sergeant Hewitt, an Army recruiter stationed in Atlanta, GA, to get a more specific answer on what would happen if he were diagnosed with asthma while on duty.
This is what he had to say:
If he develops asthma while serving in the military, the soldier will be sent to the doctor for a full checkup.
A PFT will be conducted and the doctor will recommend your condition to the Army.
Air Force Asthma Policy
OMK spoke directly with Recruiter Staff Sergeant Socha, an Air Force recruiter stationed in Staunton, Virginia.
Here’s what he had to say regarding the Air Force’s asthma policy:
“With the Air Force, asthma is disqualifying if service personnel carry an inhaler.
If you had childhood asthma but don’t currently carry an inhaler, it’s possible to join the Air Force.
Before joining the Air Force, the potential candidate would take a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT).
However, keep in mind that in the Air Force, there would be specific jobs where asthma would be a problem. “
We will update the Air Force asthma policy every 6 months to keep this content current and to notify you of any changes.
Marine Corps Asthma Policy
OMK spoke with Captain Sabia, a Marine Corps recruiter stationed in Norcross, Georgia.
Here’s what he had to say regarding the Marine Corps policy on asthma:
“With the Marines, you need to do a lung function test.
The potential recruit goes to see a Navy medic rather than the medical board. There are specific jobs that you can’t do if you have asthma. “
We will update this regularly in the event the Marine Corps changes its asthma policy in the future.
Coast Guard Asthma Policy to speak with Petty Officer Devoir, a Coast Guard recruiter stationed in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Here’s what he had to say regarding the Coast Guard’s policy on asthma:
“With the Coast Guard, if you’re taking any asthma medication, it’s a disqualifier.
In the Coast Guard, the duty person must have a spirometer test and the recruit must obtain a medical consultation.
The recruit will not be able to perform strenuous work. “
We will update the Coast Guard asthma policy regularly to reflect any changes.
Medical records and exams
When enlisting in any branch of the military, there is a point where you must undergo a medical examination, as well as a review of medical records by experts in the field.
As part of your initial request, you must declare any medical deficiencies and disclose related documentation showing the extent of the disorder.
Previously, asthma was an automatic disqualifying factor upon joining the military.
This means that it was not a factor that could be waived, which means that no matter what, you cannot enter.
With competition for benefits and wages in the civilian job market and ever-changing politics, branches like the Air Force and Navy decided to find ways to allow more people in and essentially increase their numbers.